After 5 years as chief, Scott Dean moves on; Lee Haywood joins StormTrack3 Weather Team

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Scott Dean and Lee Haywood (Photo: Kevin Wuzzardo/WWAY)

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — After five years leading the best weather team in southeastern North Carolina, Scott Dean is moving on.

Scott, who joined the StormTrack3 Weather Team as chief meteorologist in August 2014, is heading back to the Triangle.

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“After two hurricanes where we had to evacuate our home and much consideration, my wife Nikki and I have decided to move back to the Raleigh area, where we will be closer to family, long-time friends and the mountains, where we own property,” Scott said.

Among his many accomplishments during his time at WWAY Scott led the weather team through Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence in 2018.

“Of course Hurricane Florence will go down as one of, if not the, greatest weather event highlights in my career,” Scott said. “I have covered many different significant weather events over my 20-year career. These include a F4 tornado in Xenia, OH, in 2000, many different hurricanes, including Sandy and Irene, numerous winter storms and the largest tornado outbreak in North Carolina history on April 16, 2011. I am proud of the work our entire team did during our 83.5 hours of continuous on-air coverage during Florence providing our community with up-to-date storm information. Everyone stepped up under very difficult circumstances, and I am proud to be a part of such a great team effort.”

While Scott will certainly be missed by viewers and colleagues alike, he will be succeeded as chief meteorologist by another veteran, who has extensive experience with the kind of weather southeastern North Carolina sees.

Lee Haywood joins WWAY as chief meteorologist less than a week after Scott departs Wednesday.

“It was important to us to find someone who has a similar level of experience as Scott,” WWAY News Director Kevin Wuzzardo said. “Our viewers have come to count on Scott’s knowledge and calm demeanor even during the worst situations. I think they’ll find Lee to be very similar in that regard. Like Scott, he will be the most experienced on-air meteorologist in southeastern North Carolina on Day 1.”

Lee has more than two decades in TV weather, including the past 19 years at WSAV in Savannah, where he was a fan favorite.

“I’m looking forward to working with a great station in a beautiful coastal location with a talented and professional news staff and a solid young group of meteorologists,” Lee said. “I have big shoes to fill, but I’m looking forward to taking over for Scott and guiding the weather department forward in the years ahead. I’m looking forward to keeping the viewers, residents and visitors along the Cape Fear coast informed with the latest weather information, especially during times of severe weather and tropical activity, and just settling into the area and enjoying all it has to offer.”

While Lee may be a new Wilmington resident, he’s no stranger to the area.

“I have regional roots growing up in southeast Virginia and doing my meteorology work at UNC-Asheville,” Lee said. “Also since I was a boy I have spent several weeks each year on the North Carolina coast vacationing, so coming to Wilmington is in a lot of ways a dream come true. I have had a passion for meteorology since I was a little boy and love talking weather, so I’m always open for a weather conversation with anyone at any time. I spent a year in Iowa before working in Savannah. I have also taught university meteorology for more than 17 years in Savannah. I am so excited to be moving closer to home and getting a chance to forecast on the North Carolina coast at Wilmington and look forward to starting soon.”

As for Scott, his personal forecast is still coming together.

“What’s immediately up next is a much anticipated fly-fishing vacation to Idaho and Montana,” Scott said. “As far as my career, I plan to take a break and find out what’s out there, whether it be in meteorology broadcasting or something totally different. While there is uncertainty, there is also excitement as to what’s next. My late father once told me when I was trying to figure out whether to go back to college and pursue meteorology, ‘What have you got to lose? You’ll never know unless you try, and you don’t want to ask yourself, “What if?”‘ It was some of the best advice I have ever received.”