Floridians have turned to Mark Collins' accurate forecasts for over 13 years. He is a Suncoast Native who grew up in Treasure Island watching Channel 10 and interned with the late Dick Fletcher. Collins said, "I first met Fletch in elementary school. He was a mentor and helped cultivate my career in Meteorology, and now I have achieved my lifelong goal of becoming part of the WTSP team."
Mark spent his childhood playing watersports and enjoying the outdoors, and weather factored into his active hobbies. "People are most skilled doing tasks that are appealing, so it was natural for me to make a career out of meteorology." His weather passion comes from experiencing many local severe weather events. Hurricane Elena in 1985 and the 1993 Storm of the Century inspired Mark's weather interest. "I recall the 3 days held up in a shelter as Elena churned 60 miles offshore. Having weathered the worst storms to hit Tampa Bay, I have the unique ability to relate to viewers how disruptive weather will impact their lives.
Mark received his Bachelors of Science at Florida State University. He studied meteorology there and at Mississippi State University which prepared him for the Bay Area's volatile convective weather pattern. Career highlights include becoming the first AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist in Jacksonville and being selected from a competitive group of national journalists by the National Press Foundation for a fellowship at the Severe Storms Prediction Center. This was a chance to learn and work with leaders in the research community.
Mark has spent his entire career forecasting in each corner of the state. He spent seven years at our sister station in Jacksonville covering the record 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. Before that he worked in hurricane alley, anchoring weather on Miami's WTVJ and in the weather forecast center at Miami's WFOR. While there he developed a relationship with hurricane experts and frequently attended weather seminars at the National Hurricane Center.
Mark developed the weather program at Florida's News Channel's statewide cable network that started up in the late 1990s. He was the lead weather graphic designer and conceived weather programming while anchoring evening weathercasts at the network's central studios in Tallahassee.
Mark's favorite part of any day is when it becomes unpredictable. "I do make a living trying to forecast the unpredictable, but I thrive on discovering new experiences, exploring new locations, and sampling exotic food. By avoiding habits, life is more enjoyable."