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Zach Daniel’s Weather Partner Has His Own Book


WTVR CBS 6 Chief Meteorologist Zach Daniel never knows how his weather segments in the station’s backyard weather center will play out thanks to his lovable co-host Walter. The eight-year-old yellow English Labrador retriever is known for his spontaneous actions on camera. 

Anything can catch Walter’s attention. “He has this perennial watering of the plants,” says Walter’s owner, Daniel. “He has the biggest bladder of any dog I have ever had.”

One day Walter pulled off a PVC pipe from the building and came cruising by Daniel  with the almost six-foot-long pipe in his mouth. “He almost tripped me,” Daniel said. “He will also chase a squirrel on air at some point.”

The more disruptions Walter causes, the more people like it. 

“I believe Walter thinks, Let’s see how uncomfortable we can make Zach on the air!” Daniel said. “He likes to remind me who the real star is.”

How it Started

Daniel’s career in meteorology started with an interest in the stars and sky after Santa Claus brought him a telescope when he was eight years old. “I was fascinated about it all,” Daniel said. “I was also interested in the weather, particularly big storms.”

Daniel went on to receive his degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. 

“Meteorology is highly technical, hard science based in physics and calculus (higher math). Equations of motion are the foundation of meteorology,” he said, explaining why he liked the science. “There are different avenues in meteorology. I am more of a people person and a communicator, so the broadcast side of meteorology appealed to me for that reason.”

Daniel, a 13-time Emmy award winner, started with CBS 6 in November 2007 to head the weather department after working at the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City. 

He and his family got Walter when the pup was only eight weeks old. Walter became interested in co-hosting the weather in 2017 when Daniel’s wife dropped him off at CBS 6. 

“At the time, I had begun doing weather in the backyard weather center. Walter walked around and fell asleep at my feet during the weathercast that day,” Daniel said. “People started calling the station and sending me messages on social media asking about the dog. They loved the dog.”

After those positive responses, Daniel decided to bring Walter with him to the station most days.

“When it’s bad weather, Walter’s contract gives him an opt-out,” Daniel says. 

Most days, Daniels says he’s not too distracted during Walter’s antics, but it is a challenge to ignore Walter when he’s barking.

“I can’t pretend it’s not there. I have to recognize the absurdity at that moment,” Daniel says. “Animals are unpredictable. At any time, he could do anything. It’s a balancing act. I have to make sure I am serving people as I should on the weathercast and also have fun with whatever Walter throws my way.”

Having Walter in the weather center is “work,” Daniel adds. “I have to make sure I do certain things in a certain order. I have to feed him before the first weather segment at 4 p.m. If not, he barks.”

It may be unpredictable, but sharing the weather center with Walter is a treat, Daniel says. “If you would have told me I was going to have a dog on set with me in a backyard setting, I wouldn’t have believed it.” 

How It’s Going

Daniel, who had been wanting to write a book for several years, decided to team up with artist and illustrator Tucker Adamson in 2019 on a children’s book about the weather and Walter.

“Tucker loved the idea and said let’s do it. That started the ball rolling,” Daniel said. “She was the perfect person to illustrate the book.”

One of Daniel’s favorite weather subjects is tornados so that became the topic of the first book, Walter and the Terrible Twister, in what will be a series of books about Walter and the weather. Daniel says he’s already working on the second book in the series.

All of the books will feature Walter and Stanley, the family’s four-year-old Black lab. 

“Stanley never steals the limelight from Walter,” Daniel says. “He is clearly in a supporting role.”

Because he wanted a percentage of the proceeds from the book go to the American Cancer Society, Daniel decided to self-publish the book, which was released in April. He chose the American Cancer Society because both his mom’s and his wife’s mom’s battles with stage-four cancer. 

Walter and the Terrible Twister is available at Book People, The Little Book Shop, and bbgb tales for kids in Richmond, as well as Peter-Blair, Trend, The Shops at 5807, Dogma, and PJ Pets. Most sales are through Walter’s and Daniel’s Facebook pages.

Writing the book presented Daniel with a new challenge, and he’s happy with the result.  

“I didn’t think of myself as a writer. I think the book is really good, but I think Tuckers part is what is so great,” he says. “The writing and illustrations work well together. It’s great that we can do this for a good cause.”


An award-winning writer based in Richmond, Joan Tupponce is a parent, grandparent, and self-admitted Disney freak. She writes about anything and everything and enjoys meeting inspiring people and telling their stories. Joan’s work has appeared in RFM since the magazine’s first issue in October 2009. Look for original and exclusive online articles about Richmond-area people, places, and ideas at Just Joan: RVA Storyteller.

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