Dana Barker serves as the digital meteorologist for WLTZ First News.
He holds a Master of Science in Applied Meteorology from Mississippi State University and is the only on-air meteorologist in the Columbus market with a graduate degree in the discipline.
He also has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Columbus State University and is a 1997 graduate of Shaw High School, also in Columbus.
Barker has been with the station since April 2012 when he first started working behind the scenes on WLTZ’s Facebook and Twitter pages, informing viewers of local conditions and breaking weather events. He first appeared on camera as a fill-in on WLTZ First News Today in December 2012. He was the weekend meteorologist for all Sunday evening news broadcasts from 2015 to 2018 and continues to fill in as needed for other news programming throughout the week.
Besides his on-camera work, he primarily keeps viewers informed digitally via his and WLTZ’s various social media channels. Having grown up in the Columbus area, Barker uses his intimate knowledge of local geography to deliver critical weather information on a “hyper-local” level.
He has provided live coverage of breaking local weather events on-air and online such as the January 2018 winter storm, Hurricane Michael in October 2018, and the Beauregard, Ala. violent tornado in March 2019. In March 2020, Barker successfully intercepted an EF2 tornado that affected Eufaula, Ala., delivering live video of the storm via his social media platform.
Outside of WLTZ, you can also hear his voice at the Columbus Civic Center during the fall and winter months as he is the public address announcer for the Columbus River Dragons hockey team. He is also the president of his local high school football officiating association in the Auburn-Opelika area.
Barker currently resides in Auburn, Ala. with his wife, Sarah, who is an elementary school teacher in the Auburn area, and their son, Colin.