Longtime weatherman and television personality Garrett Lewis announced Tuesday (March 30) plans to leave his job as chief meteorologist at CBS affiliate KFSM-TV. His forecasted last day forecasting is July 30.
Lewis, known for rolling his sleeves up while broadcasting during severe weather, joined 5NEWS in July 2001, and his awards include the National Weather Association’s Seal of Approval and the American Meteorological Society’s Seal of Approval. Garrett has been recognized by the Arkansas Associated Press for his work including numerous awards for ‘Best Weathercast.’ A graduate of Alma High School, Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree in geosciences and master’s degree in applied meteorology from Mississippi State University.
Lewis, 40, is a member of the board of the Benton County Children’s Advocacy Center and Arkansas’ Board for Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas. Both advocate for child protection and for the prevention and treatment of sexually or physically abused children.
“Our team at 5NEWS shares stories that reflect the pulse of our community and our shared humanity. This is what I’ve loved most about the work we do. This is what I’ll miss most. We’ve made our part of the world a better place by sharing news and weather that matters,” Lewis noted in a post on the KFSM website. “My time at 5NEWS has been one of the greatest joys in my life. No, it hasn’t always been easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Doing the hard things is what separates us from the rest. Thank you for your support both then and now, and I look forward to sharing the end of my journey with you as we near the end of Summer.”
In an interview with Talk Business & Politics, Lewis said he is not unhappy with life but is ready for something different, and ready to be “present in the moment” when he is with family. Lewis and his wife, Ashley, have a son & daughter.
“I honestly don’t know. … I really just reached a point where I needed a break,” Lewis said when asked about what’s next. He added later in the interview that, “being on call 24/7 is not easy. There have been so many vacations we’ve had to cancel because of weather events.”
Part of the job pressure has been a change in expectations during the past 20 years. Compared with when he first entered the business, the demand has grown in recent years to be on television more during the week and to be more responsive with social media. Those are also good things in that he and other KFSM meteorologists are able to keep the public better informed, but the time required is “exhausting.”
Lewis said there are career options he is considering, but nothing that’s certain. He said politics is not an option under consideration.
“I’m really just going to wait and see what happens,” he said.
Lewis said his wife’s photography career “has really accelerated” and he’s looking forward to being more supportive in her success.
Van Comer, president and general manager at KFSM, issued this statement: “For 20-years, Garrett Lewis has been a valuable member of our 5NEWS team. His passionate coverage of our extreme weather and commitment to serving our communities have been exemplary. Over the coming months, we will join our viewers in celebrating Garrett’s incredible career at 5NEWS. All of us at 5NEWS are thankful for his service, and we wish him and his family only the best as he moves on to his next adventure – Sleeves Up!”