KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Good Morning Tennessee meteorologist Justin Kiefer is retiring from full-time weather prognostication after 35 years of storms, awards, and keeping viewers informed. His last day is Friday, Oct. 28.

Meteorologist Justin Kiefer (far right) with former co-workers Sports Director John JP Peterson and Anchor/News Director Liz Hirst in 1989. (Photo courtesy of Justin Kiefer)

Justin started at WATE-TV 6 On Your Side in 2019 after several years in Florida and Connecticut. In that time, he earned a Connecticut Associated Press Weathercast of the Year award and a Florida Associated Press Weathercast of the Year award.

During his time in Florida at WMBB-TV in Panama City as Chief Meteorologist, Justin was instrumental in covering deadly Hurricane Michael; at the time it was one of the strongest storms ever to hit the Florida panhandle. Justin and his WMBB-TV coworkers were still on the air when the hurricane made landfall; he was delivering updates on a live radar when the storm hit the news station studio. The production engineers, news and weather teams had to evacuate to a secure area within the news station building shortly after they lost power and were knocked off the air.

“You work in my profession of meteorology, and you cover storms, but you don’t live the storm – for the most part,” Kiefer said of Hurricane Michael in 2019. “To have the direct hit of one of the strongest storms to ever hit the Florida panhandle, working your job through that, and then having to live as a survivor after it – that was a pretty impactful thing.”

Justin’s family had to evacuate and relocate to Middle Tennessee shortly before he started his meteorologist job at WATE-TV in January 2019.

Justin has spent 35 years in broadcast meteorology; building trust and confidence with viewers while keeping them safe through hurricanes, tornadoes and winter weather. 

Justin Kiefer started at WATE-TV 6 On Your Side in January 2019 after his family evacuated Florida due to Hurricane Michael. (Photo: WATE)

“Thirty-five years in television, moved all over the eastern half of the country – from New England to Florida, and we found a home in East Tennessee,” Kiefer said this week. “We plan to be here for the rest of our lives. Life presents you with choices everywhere you go. If the hurricane hadn’t hit there, we wouldn’t be here. Being here in East Tennessee was the best thing that could’ve happened to us, my family.”

Justin says he and his family plan to continue to fish, hike and enjoy East Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.