From balancing fatherhood and weather forecasts, to embracing a province he has grown to adore, NTV’s Chief Meteorologist bares all
As NTV’s Chief Meteorologist, Eddie Sheerr is one busy man. As a new father to seven month-old Emily, things have ramped up a few notches, particularly when it comes to the time and dedication required predicting weather.
“My time dedicated to d social media outside of work are now significantly limited because I’m trying to be a good dad, which I think is a solid trade-off at the moment,” Sheerr begins sincerely. Part of being a father is being there.
“When I’m home, I like to be present. I like to take care of Emily as much as I can. I’ve had a day or two where I’ve been solo-parenting, and to me, it’s a much harder job than going to work. Stay at home parents, hats off to you. Taking care of a baby, or child, for hours on your own is isn’t easy. It can be downright exhausting! I certainly didn’t have as much appreciation for it as I do now!”
Sheerr says he makes time for his passion for weather by simply making the time; rising earlier, or crashing later. Keeping on top of the weather in a province like ours has its challenges, but also rewards. Is winter his favourite?
“That’s a tough question. Yes and no. Yes, because our weather gets active and that’s exciting, but at the same point, it’s also challenging, especially when you’re forecasting for an area the size of Newfoundland and Labrador. Sometimes the challenges can come numerous times in a week from several different storms.”
‘Too Excited too quickly’
Sheerr’s approach is to apply a slow and steady hand.
“I find this time of year, you’re really starting to run a marathon, not a sprint, trying to pace yourself through the winter. When we jump into all these early season rain, snow or ice events, you try and not get too excited too quickly because it’s a lot more of this to come.”
But some things he can’t help but get excited over. For instance? On the day we chat, it’s one degree in Houston, Texas, and eleven in St. John’s. Sheerr laughs.
“People love stats like that. There was a similar weather pattern last year where it was 15 in St. John’s and like six in Orlando. People ate it up.”
Sheerr talks more about what he knows best; weather patterns. Plunging Southern something-or-others and salty North whatchamacallits. He laughs, recognizing he can get a tad technical and excited at times.
“Let’s keep it simple. I came across something the other day that said there’s a strong correlation between the overall temperature in November and what the rest of the winter is going to be like in Newfoundland and Labrador. We’ve had a couple of really warm days. We’ve also had a couple of extremely cold days, which is going to happen again this week. So, whatever we see November temperature wise could be an indication of how December, January and February are going to play out.”
One of the most common questions he gets? Will there be a snow day, he shares with a laugh. He tries to answer as best he can. But it’s hard.
“We live in a big place. With the conditions of the roads in an area, it’s sometimes hard to say. But to be honest, I just try and give my honest opinion when asked.”
Speaking of living in a big place, Sheerr tries to get out and about as much as he can, in fact he’s not long returned from one of his signature road trips. Those are always so much fun, he shares.
“It’s always great to get outside of town and go and see some of these smaller communities. I’ve been to Clarenville a number of times, they are always super nice there. I’ve been out there for Guy Fawkes Night and it’s always a great time shaking hands and taking pictures. I enjoy it and people seem to enjoy it. It’s always great to meet our viewers.”
Sheerr also visited Port Rexton, a place he says he’d like to return to in the summer months, and Twillingate, which he shares left him feeling something very different.
“It was really cool going to Twillingate this time because we got there in the midst of a storm ending and the ocean was like nothing I’ve ever seen. It was super cool. The waves were just huge.”
Driving into the community, he says he was almost taken aback.
“The waves were just crashing on the beaches, and it just made me feel very small. Things like that, when the wind’s blowing at 80 or 90 kilometers an hour, it’s magical.”
He shares that it’s moments like those when he truly sees the beauty of the province he now calls home. “It made me appreciate the weather in St. John’s. We get nothing like what coastal areas get. And these really exposed places? They are much, much more rugged and so very beautiful.”
Speaking of rugged yet beautiful, Sheerr shares something very personal. While becoming a new dad was amazing, it also came with an unexpected appreciation of what those suffering with mental illness can go through.
“This is something I probably should talk about because it’s not talked about. When Emily was born, I battled postpartum paternal depression for about a month. According to current stats, roughly 20 per cent of new dads go through this. It’s something that’s not talked about much, but after my experience with it, I feel it should be spoken about more openly.”
Sheerr explains that unlike new mothers fathers don’t get the experience of growing a baby.
“Everything is one way one minute and the next minute, you’re a dad.” Sheerr didn’t fully grasp how hard it would be to take care of a baby, he says, adding it was much harder than he thought it would be.
“Now, it’s more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. Being a dad is the coolest thing in the whole world. I’ve never felt love for another like I do for Emily. But at first, it wasn’t like that. I had trouble bonding with her and that brought me a lot of depression and anxiety. Having a child changes your life in more ways that you can imagine beforehand. And that change is easier to swallow for some more than others. For me, I found it to be quite the challenge to say goodbye to pre-baby life and hello to dad life.”
Sheerr worked with a therapist and, perhaps most importantly, he kept doing the things he loved.
“I kept rowing and kept working, and that kept me moving forward rather than going into a place that I didn’t know I could go to. But it gave me a bit of a taste of what mental illness is about and how that’s very real. It changes your whole personality. And before I even knew it, it was on me, and it was so foreign and odd to me I didn’t even recognize what it was.”
A rewarding challenge
And now? “It’s still challenging. But things are great. Speaking about it, I hope, can probably help people. I know that it’s not something that’s spoken about. Moms can go through postpartum, but it’s also more common than not for dads to go through some kind of postpartum as well. I spoke to a therapist about it and she said, what you’re feeling is normal.”
Sheerr has a message for new dads. “If you are going through a hard time or you are nervous it’s just hard in the beginning. It’s the biggest change you’ll ever have in your life, ever. There’s no question. But as the baby gets older and sleeps more and starts giving something back; they’re smiling and laughing and crawling and you could see them develop, it’s the coolest thing in the world.”
Speaking of cool, Sheerr says no matter the weather, he Susan and Emily plan on enjoying themselves as much as they can this winter.
“We’re going to have to see what Emily likes. If she likes going to play out in the snow in the winter, we will go out in the snow. And if she doesn’t, then we won’t.”
Sheerr wisely says being a new parent, like being a meteorologist, involves a lot of trial and error moments.
Many who watch Sheerr each night on First Edition or on the NTV Evening News Hour might not know Sheerr is also on OZFM giving weather updates. One fun segment he does daily is the Afternoon Drive with Stephen Lethbridge. Sheerr smiles.
“It’s just like chatting with a buddy. The atmosphere on radio is a lot more relaxed and casual than it is on TV. We can get off topic and laugh and then talk about the weather again, about how bad or how good it is.”
‘I love it here’
So, is he still happy he decided to call this province home? He smiles sincerely. “I love it here,” he replies. We ask if he’s happiest when the sun is shining for days on end? He chuckles. “That makes my life very easy.”
However, that’s not why he’s here. “I came for the weather.”
Like everyone, he enjoys a break in stormy weather, and he’s not overly thrilled when we have days and days of cloud cover or rain. Still? What we have here is pretty awesome, he adds. “The weather here is pretty cool. And that makes me happy.”