Everybody talks about the weather: Dan Milham

Dan Milham was the head weatherman at WDSU, Channel 6, for 31 years. Although he officially retired at the end of 2008, he has been on the air for Hurricane Isaac and occasionally to fill in for a vacationing staffer. Nowadays, he works as a freelance photographer, but he still keeps an eye on the weather, so with Super Bowl and Carnival coming up, we called him for a chat.

SUPER BOWL IS FEB. 3, AND MARDI GRAS IS FEB. 12. CAN YOU GIVE US ANY HINTS OF WHAT TO EXPECT? Super Bowl weekend from here is looking kind of cool, but probably dry. I don’t like to say anything about the weather more than seven or eight days out. Mardi Gras, I wouldn’t even want to guess from here.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR IN NEW ORLEANS, WEATHERWISE? For me, October and March vie for the title. Those are the two times of year you are really likely to have comfortable temperatures and a spell of dry days.

WHAT IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST? I tend toward August and September. That’s kind of a toss-up, when you think about how Labor Day hasn’t worked out for us in the last decade or so.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR MARDI GRAS? I plan to play golf. After working so many Carnival seasons and Mardi Gras, I really look forward to staying out of the hustle and bustle.

WHAT KIND OF PHOTOGRAPHY DO YOU DO? It really depends on the client. I stay away from wedding photography and formal photography. Mine is more — I call it the editorial style, where people want to document their projects. Most of what I’ve done has been construction projects. I’ve done behind-the-scenes work for National Geographic. But I also do birthday parties, a 100th birthday — I like the candid shots.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY? It’s been a great hobby since I was a young man, since I was in the Army. I got my first single-lens reflex camera at the PX in Vietnam. I did a lot of flying around in helicopters over there.

BE HONEST. HOW RELIABLE ARE WEATHER FORECASTS? Weather
forecasts are very reliable if you accept them for what they
are: a simple statement of probability. In my experience, a lot of people do not accept them (that way). They say ‘It’s supposed to rain.’ ... you will never hear a weatherman say that.

WHAT IS BETTER: INTERESTING WEATHER OR BORING WEATHER? Interesting weather means bad weather. I like boring weather. I like blue skies. I like to be able to make some nice graphics and smile on the air and tell people, ‘It’s going to be great! Enjoy yourselves!’