Parveen the 'It Girl' of local weather scene

Sheena Parveen of NBC10: "I was actually hoping that I would get [a blizzard] this past winter, but it was so mild."
Sheena Parveen of NBC10: "I was actually hoping that I would get [a blizzard] this past winter, but it was so mild." (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: August 16, 2012

LET'S FACE it, the reason the Daily News is profiling NBC10 meteorologist Sheena Parveen is not because she is more accurate in her forecasts than any other member of the small army of weather people who take up increasing amounts of screen time on local TV news programs these days.

The reason is that, thanks to her stunning visage and engaging presence, the 26-year-old weather reporter for the station's 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekday newscasts has become the market's newest "It Girl."

How vividly is Parveen flashing on the public's radar? According to Daily News lifestyle columnist Jenice Armstrong, coordinator of the People Paper's annual "Sexy Singles" promotion, the St. Petersburg, Fla., native was by far the most nominated person for this year's list (Parveen did not participate). Actually, it may be that the only person in the Delaware Valley who doesn't seem to get it about Parveen is Parveen. During a recent interview at NBC10's City Avenue complex, she scoffed at the suggestion she's become something of a sex symbol.

"To be honest," she said, "I don't think about that. That's not a concern of mine. I'm not here to try to look good, so if it comes along with it, I'm flattered. But it's nothing that I think about.

"I hope [the buzz is] because I'm very personable, that people enjoy watching. Honestly, unless somebody tells me, I don't realize it. I do my job. I try to be as good as I can at doing my job, and if people like me - which I hope they do - that's fantastic."

That Parveen, who joined the Channel 10 weather squadron last December, is even on television, much less an apparent star-in-the-making, remains a surprise to her. Parveen - whose ethnic background is an American multicultural stew that includes German, Persian and Native American DNA - claims a lifelong fascination with weather, yet insisted she never saw herself talking about it on TV.

The Tampa Bay region is "the lightning capital of the country," she said. "Every afternoon in the summer, we'd have thunderstorms. I'd always sit by the window and watch the lightning. That really interested me."

What was happening right outside her window definitely sparked the young Parveen's intellectual curiosity.

Weather, she noted, "is constantly changing. It's one of those things where you're always learning more about it. When you're little, you always wonder, why do the clouds move? Why do they form different shapes? What causes lightning? You have so many questions about it. That makes it more interesting.

"It was one of those instances where I really didn't understand it, so it made me more inclined to want to know about it."

Not that Parveen was, in her own estimation, a "weather geek."

"Growing up, I wouldn't say I was a tomboy, but I was never a girly-girl," she said. "I played softball and did gymnastics . . . probably wore soccer shorts every day to school."

After graduating from high school, Parveen, whose mother, Sherry, is a retired computer programmer and dad, Mike, works in real estate, enrolled at Florida State University because of its acclaimed meteorology program. It was there she became aware that it was possible for her to meld her love of weather with broadcasting.

"I went into it with the hopes of doing more . . . research-type [work]," she recalled. "When I actually got into the program, I was told by one of the professors, 'Hey, you'd be really good on [the student-run TV channel's] weather show.'

"I had no idea. But when I started it, I loved it. And then I said, 'So this is how people start doing weather on TV.' I never knew that. I just liked weather. I did the show and loved it and said, 'This is what I want to do.' "

Parveen spent three years on the school's TV station, but graduated with a degree in meteorology (she minored in math), not broadcast meteorology. Immediately after graduation, she landed a job with the CBS affiliate in Tallahassee, Fla. That led to a gig at the Fox affiliate in Tampa, where she stayed two years before heading to Philadelphia, and thereby fulfilling a long-held goal of working in the northeastern United States. She is particularly delighted to be in this neck of the woods, with its diverse topography and if-you-don't-like-the-weather-wait-five-minutes climate.

"You have the Lehigh Valley, the Shore, the Poconos - it's all these different things that made it interesting to me," she said. "You don't just have one flat piece of land. It's geographically different, which makes the weather interesting to forecast. I love it."

Perhaps most of all, she jumped at the opportunity offered by Channel 10 because "I wanted to forecast snow."

Of course, things have yet to work out for her in that respect. Parveen spent her early days in town experiencing one of the Delaware Valley's warmest winters, during which snow was, at best, a rumor. "A lot of people said I brought Florida with me," she said. "We had a very mild winter, and we started off summer [with a] heat wave.

"I was actually hoping that I would get [a blizzard] this past winter, but it was so mild. I was excited just forecasting 2 or 3 inches."

Even without having a "storm-of-the-century"-type event to follow, Parveen - who is one of the relatively few TV types to have earned the prestigious Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal from the American Meteorological Society - has received the respect of her co-workers.

Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz, who captains the station's weather-watching unit, has nothing but praise for the newcomer.

"Sheena is a terrific addition to the team," Schwartz wrote in an email. "Not only does she know her stuff, but she's also a really nice person who happens to have a great sense of humor. She has a great attitude, and has quickly become an invaluable part of our team."

As for her offscreen life, Parveen politely declined to discuss her dating status, but did admit to being in love - with Philadelphia.

"I was only here a couple of months when I said, 'For some reason, I don't know what it is, but it does kind of feel like home,' " she noted. "I love the vibe of the city. I love the pace of the city. And even outside of the city, in the suburbs, it has this quaint feeling to it.

"I love [Philly]. I love the reputation it has for food. I love the passion the people have for [sports]. You don't see that as much in Tampa, I guess, because a lot of people are from other places. So when you come up here, it's very different. I think a lot of people use the word 'passionate' to describe [Delaware Valley residents] . . . and it's very true."

She added that the strong feelings Philadelphians have for their sports teams "is contagious. It makes you want to fall in with it. That's another thing I love about [the region]. You don't see that as much anywhere else."

When she's not working, Parveen, who lives in the city, spends her time with her black Labrador, Bella, painting, paddle boarding at the Shore or availing herself of the city's dining scene. She is especially partial to Italian food, and claimed she was amazed to learn that particular cuisine isn't the exclusive province of the Carrabba's Italian Grills and Olive Gardens of the world.

"In Florida, you're not used to these fantastic little restaurants that aren't major chains," she said. "Here you have the mom-and-pop, I guess you can say, restaurants. A BYO is unheard of in Florida. So when I came up here, I said, 'You can bring wine to a restaurant and they don't charge you for it?' It was crazy."

Not surprisingly, Parveen played it cagily when asked about her career plans. After all, she couldn't profess a desire to leave Channel 10, even if it exists. And she was adamant about not having any kind of strategy in mind.

"The funny thing about that question is that whenever anybody asks me, I don't have an answer. I just don't," she said.

"When I was in Tallahassee, it was timing. When I was in Tampa, it was my hometown. I wasn't looking to go back to my hometown, it just so happened there was an opening. And then when I was there, I really wanted to come up to the Northeast.

"If you ask me where I'll be in five years, I couldn't tell you. If you ask me where I'll be in a week, I couldn't tell you. But I love it here."

And what if - like many broadcasters before her - she wound up staying until retirement?

"That," she stated without hesitation, "would be fantastic."


Contact Chuck Darrow at 215-313-3134 or darrowc@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @chuckdarrow and read his blog philly.com/casinotes.

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