EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Predicting the weather in Southern New England is no easy task.

From blizzards and hurricanes to deep freezes and heat waves, Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo has seen it all in the 25 years he’s worked at WPRI 12.

And the Rhode Island native wouldn’t want it any other way.

“It means a lot to be at one station for that long period of time, I’m very lucky,” he said. “I grew up in Riverside, went to East Providence High School and now I literally work in my hometown.”

Believe it or not, becoming a weatherman wasn’t always T.J.’s top career choice.

“I wanted to be all kinds of things [when I was younger],” he said. “A paleontologist, an astronaut … it kind of morphed into weather.”

The first time T.J. ever stepped in front of a green screen was when he was a student at Lyndon State College.

T.J. even had the chance to work alongside his future colleague before he even received his diploma.

“I interned with Tony Petrarca for two summers,” T.J. said. “At the time, we didn’t have internet. We had weather maps that were getting printed out from a giant fax machine.”

“I would rip the papers off and I would color in the important things that Tony would need to know,” he continued.

It didn’t take T.J. long to return to WPRI 12 after graduating.

His first day on air was May 23, 1997.

“I came for a tryout for the noon show, and the news director came in and said ‘can you do weekends until further notice?’ and I said, ‘yeah,'” he recalled.

The rest was history.

“I never thought about the phrase ‘until further notice,’ but I still haven’t gotten my notice,” T.J. said.

Even though he spends his weekend evenings focusing on the forecast, T.J. has never left his passions behind.

Throughout the week, T.J. is also a reporter who spends most of his time in the Ladd Observatory at Brown University.

His fascination with astronomy motivates him during his search for a good story to tell.

“I hope people love and enjoy astronomy as much as I do,” he said.

T.J. is also one of the only WPRI 12 employees certified to fly Sky Drone 12.

He admits that’s one of his favorite parts of the job.

“We were the first to have a drone in the local television market and I was excited to be the first to fly it,” he said.

When asked who inspires him, T.J. teared up thinking of his parents.

“They worked really hard to get me into college and make me a good person,” he said.

When asked whether his parents ever brag about him being on TV, T.J. said absolutely.

And they still do after all these years.

“I’ll be out to eat with them and they’ll say ‘this is my son, the weatherman!’ and I’ll be like ‘oh my God, stop!'” T.J. said with a laugh.

“I consider myself lucky to be able to stay where my family is,” he continued. “I don’t know if I would’ve stayed in the business 25 years if I had to go somewhere else in the country.”

So what’s next for T.J.?

Well as long as he doesn’t get that “notice,” T.J. is hoping to stick around for years to come.

“Another 25 [years] would be excellent,” he said. “It’s fun, it’s rewarding and I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else.”