Walt Cronise, longtime Local 10 meteorologist, dies at 90

Cronise spent 23 years as weatherman at WPLG


PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Legendary Local 10 meteorologist Walter Cronise has died at the age of 90.

The man South Florida viewers knew as "Uncle Walt" passed away at his home in Jacksonville on Sept. 20.

PHOTOS: "Uncle Walt" Cronise through the years

Cronise arrived at WPLG in Miami in 1969 after serving 25 years in the Navy where his love of meteorology began while flying with the Hurricane Hunters, a unit that flies directly into storms to study their power.

First hired as a freelance weather forecaster when the station's call letters were WLBW, Cronise became the chief meteorologist a year later and was on the air until his retirement in December 1992.

WATCH: Walt Cronise reunites with Dwight Lauderdale

Cronise was popular not just for his expertise in delivering a daily weather forecast, but for the folksy names he gave the thunderstorms that often threatened the area.

Viewers quickly became familiar with nicknames like Palmetto pounders, toad stranglers and fairway flooders.

WATCH: Don Noe reminisces about Walt Cronise

"People realize, you know, when I say 'Hey, man, they had a great big toad strangler out in the 'Glades this afternoon,' they know what it is." Cronise said about his clever storm names. "You know, there's not another toad out there strangling a toad. It's a heavy shower!"

Cronise even remarked that his bad back could correctly forecast storm activity better than the newest scientific equipment that was available in the station's weather office.

WATCH: Vintage Walt Cronise promos on Local 10

Walt's family life also began in Miami as it was there that he met and then married Dorothy, a former telephone operator. Together, Walt and Dorothy had five children.

Back in 2004, Cronise was asked what he missed most about working in television.

"I miss the people," Cronise said.

Cronise is survived by Dorothy, his five children, seven granddaughters and 14 great grandchildren.