Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca joined WPRI-TV in March 1987 and has 34 years of experience studying and forecasting New England weather. He is a native Rhode Islander, grew up watching WPRI 12, and has lived here his entire life.
As a child, Tony would track snowstorms and hurricanes on his “weather wall” at home, and always dreamed of becoming a meteorologist. He thanks his parents for their love and support in helping him achieve his dream.
He is a graduate of Toll Gate High School in Warwick and Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vermont, where he earned a B.S. Degree in Meteorology.
Tony is a member of the American Meteorological Society and holds the Society’s highest standards for a television meteorologist with the “A.M.S. Broadcast Seal Of Approval” award. In 2012, he was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Silver Circle in recognition of his 30 years as a meteorologist.
He has also been nominated six times for the New England Emmy Award for his work and was voted Most Accurate Meteorologist 10 times by Rhode Island Monthly Magazine annual readers poll, as well as numerous civic awards. He has led the Pinpoint Weather team with Associated Press Awards for “Best Weathercast” in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and 2012. One of Tony’s career highlights was spending a winter weekend atop of Mt. Washington, N.H. which later turned into a half hour Emmy nominated weather documentary entitled “On Top Of New England.”
In the past 30 years, Tony has forecast everything Mother Nature has to offer here in New England including blizzards, multiple Nor’easters, the Historic Floods of 2010, Tropical Storm Irene, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Blizzards of 2013, 2015, and the 1995-1996 winter, which brought more than 100 inches of snow, countless severe thunderstorms, and even the occasional tornado threat.
Tony never really left school. In the last 27 years, he has visited more than 600 elementary schools teaching children about weather. With his influence and guidance, some of these younger students decided to study weather in college.
Tony’s motto is to give back to the community that he grew up in and he does just that. He has donated countless hours to various charitable organizations including the “Tomorrow Fund,” “Meeting Street School,” “East Bay Coalition For The Homeless,” “Crossroads Homeless Shelter,” “The Fogarty Center,” “Hasbro Children’s Hospital” and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Tony is the co-host for the annual Meeting Street Telethon and former host of the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon. In 2015 he received the “Sons Of Italy Service Award” He also serves as a Eucharistic minister at Sacred Heart Church in West Warwick.
Tony is the proud father of three children.