It was 2002 and Justin Godynick had just taken a job as a meteorologist in Boston, his first television job in a major market and the Monmouth County native was eager and excited for the opportunity.
But back at home in New Jersey, his wife and newborn daughter were both suffering from health complications. The distance would be difficult enough in ordinary circumstances, but this situation proved even more challenging.
“It was very difficult being away while my family was suffering,” Godynick recalls. “My wife is an absolute rock, she handled two children under 2, and had to do it mostly alone. Add to that the medical issues that my youngest had; I know she wasn’t sleeping and I certainly wasn’t sleeping.
“I will say the folks in Boston were extremely understanding and allowed me a schedule that let me go home weekly. That certainly helped. But doing that drive twice a week certainly took a toll.”
With that in mind, Godynick was thrilled to return to the area earlier this year when he became the newest meteorologist to join NBC10 in Philadelphia. We spoke to him about his love for the weather, his new favorite way to unwind and the special connection he shares with viewers.
On returning home…
It’s so nice to be back home. It gives you the ability to really bring the forecast straight down to street level. There might be a road I’m familiar with, and I know it floods, so I can say it by name, and picture the spot I’m talking about. You can’t do that in a brand-new area. It makes it extra special to be forecasting for friends and family. My family in Gloucester and Camden counties reached out to me on my first day on television in Philly. I didn’t even tell them I’d be on, but they watched, and that’s a great part of being home!
What attracted him to meteorology…
The tornado scene in The Wizard of Oz set off the passion to want to be a meteorologist for me. Several snowstorms as a child at the Jersey Shore only increased my interest in becoming a meteorologist: the 1993 Superstorm, the Blizzard of ’96 and February ’03, just to name a few. Forecasting snow is the hardest part of the job; it makes the job extremely interesting in winter.
A love affair with South Jersey…
South Jersey has a unique character. I love how wide open parts of the area are, like when you’re on the Parkway and look out over the wetlands by the Mullica River. You have gorgeous beaches—Cape May, Wildwood, Stone Harbor, Avalon, just to name a few. When I was younger, I’d go camping in the Pine Barrens, what a cool place. It’s the wilderness of New Jersey. I worked in Cumberland County for a time and I love those single-lane 55 mph roads through farmland and pine forests. I couldn’t find a Wawa anywhere in New England, but South Jersey, they’re everywhere. I remember that first coffee and hoagie when I moved back home.
When he’s off the clock…
My wife and I got our motorcycle licenses last year. We really like to ride around, we don’t get a lot of free time with the kids, but that’s something we can do together. I play guitar and love classic rock and metal. I also enjoy golf, despite how frustrating it can be some days. Craft beer is always enjoyable and South Jersey has so many great breweries.
The connection with viewers…
I was lucky enough to be on television in South Jersey for several years before coming to Philly, so I’ve had many interactions with viewers over the years. News 12 New Jersey was on in South Jersey, broadcasting on WACP for about five years. Before that I worked with SNJ in Millville. I really got to know what folks in South Jersey expect from their weather cast from my time at those stations. And yes, I’m very aware of the “Cape May bubble!”
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Published and copyrighted in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 20, Issue 5 (August 2023)