WBBJ team says ‘goodbye’ to Shaley Dawson

Shaley Dawson joined the WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News team in November 2020 as our weekend meteorologist. Over the past two years, Shaley has brought not only the latest weather coverage to West Tennessee, but has also helped tell countless stories in the community as a reporter and host of our “Educator of the Week” series. Shaley’s growth and professionalism has been inspiring to experience, and it’s a bittersweet moment to announce her departure. We had a few questions for Shaley as she prepares for her next chapter.

What has your experience been like working with the West Tennessee community?

“I had gone to college at UT Martin, so I had an idea of what West Tennessee was like. But when I started, it made me realize how much I had to learn about the region. A few things that I learned were:

  • 1. They are not afraid to call you out if you mispronounce the name of their town/community.
  • 2. A large chunk of the community has a love-hate relationship with the “s” word (snow) — and if you forecast it, it better come.
  • 3. How genuinely compassionate and kind the community is.

It was a pleasure getting to meet so many different people and cover so many different stories for the community. It gave me a new understanding of the community and the people who lived here and I’m so grateful to now get to call this place home.”

What will you remember from your time working at WBBJ?

“There are so many things I’ll remember, but the weather was something I don’t think I could forget if I tried. It felt like I covered everything  in the book in just my first year, from earthquakes to winter storms, to tornadoes and catastrophic flooding. It felt like my first year I never got a break. And of course, I had the other members of the weather team to rely on and learn from over the past two years. They were so helpful in guiding me and helping me learn and I’ll truly miss them.”

Are there any favorite memories/memorable moments you’d like to share, or any stories you covered that left a lasting impact on you?

“There are really three memories I don’t think I could ever forget. The first one was the evening of March 27, 2021, when we had a severe weather threat and lost the entire weather center. This was one of my first severe weather events to cover and Joel was fairly new at the station as well. We were both there for about 12-14 hours trying to stay on top of the event and communicate it to everyone. On top of that, we lost the entire weather center only a few minutes before the 10:00 show, while there was a line of severe thunderstorm warnings and rotating storms moving in. That night, I learned how innovative. You have to be in the field and how important it is to be in that position when so many people are turning to you for help or questions.

The second one would be the catastrophic flooding in Waverly, TN in August of 2021. It happened only a few minutes away from where I grew up and I knew many people affected by the event. While it wasn’t really in West Tennessee, the station spent weeks covering the flooding and the impacts it had on the community. On top of that, the people of West Tennessee were so supportive and wanted to help in every day possible. It really showed me the compassionate and kind hearts of the West Tennessee community.

The third one would be the severe weather outbreak of December 10-11, 2021. I was helping to cover social media while Brian and Joel were covering it on air. There were multiple tornadoes and one that had hit Dresden, TN that evening. This one was so memorable to me because the very next morning, I went to Martin (only 15 minutes from Dresden) and graduated with my bachelors from UT Martin. Over the next few months, I drove to Dresden multiple times to see plans on rebuilding parts of downtown and helping other members of the community after they were affected. I was able to meet so many people and give back to the community that gave so much to me while I was in college.”

What would you say to those who have supported you?

“Thank you for your patience. I came in as a college student with no experience and I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. It took some time for me to become comfortable and to learn how to communicate in non-weather terms. Most of the people were so supportive and kind in helping me grow to become the meteorologist I am today, and for that I will be forever grateful.”

What’s next for you?

“For those who don’t know, I have been working on completing my masters degree and that is my main focus for the moment. I want to take some time to put my education first. I also have been working as a graduate intern for the Coon Creek Science Center in Adamsville for a few months to develop a new meteorology program, so you’ll be seeing more of me there as well. If you happen to stop in and see me, feel free to say hi! I won’t be leaving Jackson anytime soon. I have a remote job for an awesome tech company, so it will give me time to be more involved in the community, still focus on my school, and spend more time with my family and friends.”

How can people keep up with your journey?

“I do still plan to be involved with weather, so you can still follow me on my Facebook (@wx.shaley) and my Twitter (@wxShaley) for the occasional updates or cool weather things I feel like posting. If you want to see what happens in my life outside of the weather, follow me on instagram (@wxShaley). Please don’t be a stranger!”

Join us in wishing Shaley the best of luck – we will miss you! Catch Shaley’s final shows this Saturday evening (11/19). 

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