NEW ORLEANS (AP) — After a decades-long career as a TV weather forecaster, a New Orleans meteorologist is signing off Friday due to vision problems.
Carl Arredondo, 55, announced Feb. 19 that he had a rare genetic disorder called retinitis pigmentosa that was eroding his peripheral vision, and that his last day at WWL-TV would be March 1.
The station aired a segment Tuesday detailing Arredondo’s condition and showing him negotiating the city’s streets with a white cane that he’s learning to use.
“It’s tough because I love forecasting — not necessarily being on TV. I love sitting down with the computer models and trying to figure out what’s going to happen, but I’ve noticed in the last year especially, it’s not as easy to do the things that I need to do,” Arredondo said.
He said he has struggled with genetic eye problems since his 20s, including detached retinas that required surgeries after which he couldn’t move for weeks at a time. He was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa several years ago.
Arredondo studied meteorology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and then worked briefly for a private weather company providing offshore clients with weather data. After various stints with television stations in Texas, Arredondo joined The Weather Channel in 1988 and then WWL-TV in 1991.
During his time at the station he’s covered numerous weather events and hurricanes including 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. In the aftermath of Katrina, the station aired a story about his return to his storm-damaged neighborhood and home in Slidell.
After leaving the station, Arredondo will join Lighthouse Louisiana, a nonprofit that works with people who are visually and hearing impaired.
“I’m lucky that I’m stepping away while I can, and it’s my decision to do it. There are times that I am uncertain and nervous and probably a little bit scared, but I know that carefully walking and maneuvering I can find my way to where I need to be,” he said.
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