Rain, fog, life — Eubank loves it all

Published: Monday, April 25 2005 12:00 a.m. MDT

KSL-TV's Mark Eubank and his wife, Jean, at their home in Bountiful. Eubank picked the home's location based on the area's high rainfall.

August Miller, Deseret Morning News

Mark Eubank wants to talk about the weather. He wants to talk about it as long as you'll listen or tune in. He talks about the weather on vacation. He talks about it at home. He talks about it with TV viewers.

No one in America wants to talk about the weather — really talk about the weather — more than Eubank, the gung-ho, gee-whiz TV weatherman. He talks about the weather the way most men talk about football. It's not chitchat; It's split jet streams and microbursts and cold fronts and the lake effect, delivered with the passion and intensity of a coach making his pre-game speech.

But what would you expect from a man who put a rain alarm on his roof so he wouldn't sleep through a rainstorm and miss it all? He has moved his family home twice to live where there was more rain. He has recorded the daily weather in a notebook every day for 50 years.

He has started two weather-consulting businesses. He turned his house and yard into a weather station (cost: $5,000 out of his own pocket). He's written two books about weather. He gives firesides and speeches about weather.

He studies and reads about weather. His greatest ambition in life — his Holy Grail — is to discover a means to predict the weather every day a year or more ahead — a project that turned into an obsession for two years.

"He truly has a passion for it," says Kevin Eubank, Mark's son and a former TV weatherman himself. "He eats it, sleeps it, drinks it, breathes it. Every day he's thinking about what is going on and what causes it. Even when we go on vacations, he'll talk about it."

He was a city surveyor in Los Angeles when he traded his work boots for suits because he believed he could do a better job than the local TV weatherman. Forty years later he's still telling us the weather on KSL-TV and radio and having more fun doing it than any man seems capable of.

Sometimes in his excitement he runs out of words to tell us about the weather, so he makes up new ones. He punctuates his 3 1/2-minute broadcasts with more sound effects than a Tom and Jerry cartoon. One of KSL's techs compiled them on a highlight tape that consisted entirely of Eubank's ad libs: "Bing, bowg, boink, boing, boiiiiing, bowk, hah, haaah!, (tearing sound), (squashed sound), ohhhh, goooomph, ziiiing, zoooom, (sound of car stopping suddenly), phhhht, eeerrrrrrumble-rumble-rumble, (slurping sound), sheeewhhhh, oh-oh, vooomph, voom, wonk, vooop, whhktw, waawaa, waaaa, waaam, zeeek."

"I don't even know I do it," he says. "I looove my job."

There are two signs on Eubank's office wall: "Never trust a split jet stream," and "There is no bad weather, only different types of good weather."

He loves all weather, but he has a special weakness for rain. At 63, he still savors the rain the same way he did as a boy, when he would pull up a chair to the living room window to watch. These days he settles in the sun room of his house because its three walls of floor-to-ceiling glass windows and metal roof allow him to see and hear the rain.

"I looove rain," he says. "I get almost euphoric. There's something comforting about it, a sense of well-being."

While living in Los Angeles in his pre-weatherman days he installed a rain alarm on the roof of his home. On the rare occasions it rained, the alarm sounded in his bedroom, waking him and his young wife, Jean. Mark would jump out of bed and run to the door to watch it rain and listen to the music of the drops as they struck the roof.

"It was the loudest alarm you can imagine, and it would wake me out of a dead sleep," says Jean. "I grumbled about it a little. I was going to college and working."

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