Real quick before we dive into the interview with Kevin Crouch, the founder and operator of Ellis County Weather… I think it’s a fun fact for you to know that Kevin is my cousin. My dad and his mom are brother and sister. I used to babysit Kevin when he was little, and I can attest to the fact that he has been interested (sometimes obsessed!) with weather since he was a small child. It’s been awesome to tune in and watch alongside sometimes 800+ people as he shares what’s going on outside. It’s great to see him serving his community with pride. Recently, a mother even reached out to Kevin to see if her kids could meet him! If you watch any of his broadcasts, you know right away that he takes this seriously – he deeply cares about people, that they can be more informed and aware of the current weather situations, and that they stay safe. His commitment to this excellence is inspiring, and I’m proud to call him family! Enjoy learning more about Kevin and Ellis County Weather!
Ami Trull: Tell us a little about you…. and how did you become so interested in weather?
Kevin Crouch: I honestly cannot remember when I first became so fascinated by weather – I think I’ve just always been that way. I was always intrigued by how the weather changed, and wanted to know more about how and why the weather did what it did. I know the movie “Twister” helped – I was probably too young to be watching that when it came out, but I was just so fascinated by the tornadoes and their behavior. This led to me learning enough to be afraid, and I developed a pretty debilitating fear of storms. I overcame this by learning to be informed and prepared when severe weather strikes, and that knowledge was something I wanted to share with others.
Ami: When did you realize the need for Ellis County Weather, and when did it start?
Kevin: As a kid I would always watch Troy Dungan on WFAA-8 in Dallas. I felt he did a pretty good job of covering the WHOLE DFW area, even south of I-20. Over time, though, as populations moved northward to places like Denton, Plano, and Frisco, the attention focused in on Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties. I became tired of watching the very bottom of the screen to see what was happening here at home, so I started learning to read radar on my own at home. Over time I was able to understand storm behavior, and even was able to tell a friend in Georgia what was happening near her house when her parents were out for the evening and she had no electricity. As social media grew, I saw an opportunity to put my knowledge to work and show others what was happening in our area even if they couldn’t always get updates from their TV. I started a Twitter page in October of 2015, and then the December 26, 2015 tornadoes in the Midlothian/Ovilla/Glenn Heights area hit, bringing incredible traffic. I immediately expanded to Facebook, and the rest is history.
Ami: What is your favorite type of storm to watch/report?
Kevin: I would have to say I enjoy watching super-cell thunderstorms the most. They have the most behavior to observe – hail, damaging winds, updrafts, downdrafts, tornadoes, etc. Squall lines can be interesting, but super-cell thunderstorms are each so unique and so energetic, almost like they’re alive. In the movie Twister, it always struck me how the main character Bill (played by Bill Paxton) was described as “a human barometer” who could “tell what a storm is thinking.” I feel a little bit like that now, since observing super-cell behavior has helped me understand what a storm’s next move probably will be. Hurricanes – though on a much large scale – can be similar, but we just don’t see them in their prime in our area. Super-cells are fascinating to watch – but ultimately deserve our respect and righteous fear.
Ami: I’ve noticed that your weather page is now sponsored! Tell us how that came about.
Kevin: Jimmy Poarch with Hi View Realty has become my first sponsor, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with our working relationship. Jimmy values this community like I do, and has a passion for partnering with those who seek to bring something to the table. Jimmy’s also a wise businessman who has great counsel, and one who isn’t afraid to consider ideas. When Jimmy and I met, we both agreed Ellis County Weather was treading new ground and we would be figuring out new things as we went. That’s an exciting reality to consider, and one I am proud to go through with Jimmy supporting me. I must also say that I never really considered a business model for Ellis County Weather, but then Jon Garrett with Lone Star Events and Tents helped me see how it could ultimately help my core mission. Since he gave me that great advice, I’ve worked on managing ECW’s primary function, as well as keeping a business oriented focus that allows me to improve upon what I do.
Ami: Anything else you’d like to highlight or encourage the public with? What are some future goals and plans for ECW?
Kevin: Texas weather is infamously hard to predict, and we have had quite the atypical Spring (few tornadoes, a lot of “close calls” with dry-lines that ended up producing no storms at all, and many late night adventures with squall lines that did – and didn’t – move through). Now that things have calmed down and the forecast will be dominated with “sunny and hot” for a while, I’m working hard to bring new and improved quality to my severe weather coverage. I feel more and more like I’m having to become a “jack of all trades” by juggling weather knowledge, filming strategies, the mindset of an on-air personality, a business model, and the ever-changing landscape of social media. I can’t wait to see what new opportunities come out of the coming days and weeks, and I’m confident Ellis County Weather will continue to grow and expand over time. I can’t say how appreciative I am of everyone who has given advice, words of encouragement, or even just liked or followed the page. I’m living my dream in a way I never could have imagined, and those who have helped me along the way get the credit for making it possible.
Ami: We’d love to hear what people in Ellis County have to say about you! Share some of your reviews with us!
Kevin: Here are some reviews found on the Ellis County Weather page:
“This has become the first place I go to for my weather forecasts. ECW is accurate, local, and informative. Thanks for the work you do!” – Keith Ricci
“He’s always on point and ahead of the weather. During severe weather events it doesn’t mater what time, he is up tracking the storms.” – David Mitchell
“Great local coverage…the major TV stations focus on Dallas and the north – even when we have severe weather. This is my #1 place to go for weather forecasts and information.” – Myrna Cooper
“I moved to Texas in Ellis County last year from CA so this weather has been an education. I have been trying to locate a go-to TV and radio station to keep up with emergency weather updates. I have very poor internet service here and it goes out whenever there is any kind of weather. None of the TV channels focus on Ellis County so this is a great find. Thank you very much for simplifying this search!” – Melody Steele
“This page gave me warning at least an hour before the sirens went off that the storm heading my toward my family was going to produce a tornado. I make sure to always tune in to this page now when severe weather hits.” – Vanessa Pease
“Love Ellis County Weather. We were in the Oct 20th tornado and they were the only one we got warnings from. The sirens never went off until after the fact. I pray we don’t repeat that day tomorrow. Thank you for your hard work.” – Tammy Morton Brooks
“Other people have recommended this website and after the scare with the weather and Sunday night, I think it is right that I just click in and watch this Facebook page.” – Barri Cae Seif
“Let our town of Midlothian know about rotation by us. We had no sirens and no update on news, we only had Ellis County Weather! Thanks for keeping us safe!” – Jessie Irwin
“I hear everything here first. Local news stations focus on the DFW metroplex. This is the most accurate weather forecast, weather warning, and weather information there is for Ellis County. Thank you for what you do!” – Melissa Dagenais
To follow Ellis County Weather, click here to go to their Facebook page!