Beyond the Forecast: At LSU, Steve Caparotta Instructs the Next Generation of Coastal Meteorologists

May 30, 2024

Steve Caparotta, a familiar face on Baton Rouge televisions for over two decades, has taken on a new role at LSU as an instructor, bringing his wealth of real-world meteorological experience to the classroom.

Earning his master’s degree and Ph.D. from LSU himself, Caparotta's journey from television meteorologist to educator highlights the growing importance of hands-on learning in the field of meteorology, especially in places like Louisiana that face unique but serious weather challenges.

With a career spanning 21 years at WAFB and a total of 25 years in TV broadcasting, Caparotta has seen it all, from severe storms to hurricanes and tornadoes. Now, he's channeling that expertise into teaching the next generation of meteorologists and scientists at LSU. “It's really nice to get out and interact with students and younger people,” Caparotta says, reflecting on his transition to teaching.

Caparotta's classes are not just about textbook learning; they're about sharing his firsthand experiences and insights from the broadcast side of meteorology. “I get to bring some of those real-world experiences into the classroom and tell them what that's been like for me or how to handle the situation or forecast in this particular situation,” he explains.

Steve Caparotta reporting for WAFB from a weather plane

Caparotta is an important part of the growing coastal meteorology program within LSU's College of the Coast and Environment. The focus on coastal meteorology is critical for Louisiana, a state grappling with vanishing coastlines due to meteorological factors like hurricanes and climate change.

“The coast is so important where we are in Louisiana," Caparotta emphasizes. “Our coast is vanishing day-by-day, and a big part of that is meteorology and hurricanes and weather.”

The Mesoscale Meteorology course, which Caparotta teaches, is part of this effort to offer new courses that delve deeper into meteorological concepts, preparing students for the complex challenges they'll face in their careers.

“We get to dig a little bit deeper into the weather, some concepts that they haven't been able to get in some of the other courses before,” he says. He’ll teach Extreme Coastal Weather in the Fall of 2024.

Steve Caparotta at front of classroom with tornado warning slide on screen

Caparotta's pitch for students interested in meteorology at LSU is simple but compelling: “Come be a part of something that's growing. It’s really important in that it not only happens here at LSU but on a regional scale for our state.”

As Louisiana continues to grapple with its unique weather challenges, having educators like Steve Caparotta bridging the gap between broadcasting and education ensures that the next generation of meteorologists are well-prepared to tackle the complexities of weather forecasting and its impact on coastal environments in Louisiana and beyond.

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