Meteorologist Mark Collins knows Florida's weather. He came to The Weather Authority after working in marine research at the Florida Institute of Oceanography. In fact, he deployed some of the buoys in the Gulf that report weather data in his weather reports. Before his research time, Mark worked for four years at WTSP in Tampa. Although he is a Tampa Bay native, he spent his childhood casting for shrimp around Friendship Fountain on the Southbank and visiting relatives who lived on the Westside. Mark first came to WJXT in 2010 but started tracking Jacksonville storms on-air since 2003. He has covered every corner of the state during his television career. He was in Jacksonville just in time to cover the record 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. Before that he worked in hurricane alley, anchoring weather on Miami's WTVJ and in the weather forecast center at Miami's WFOR. In Tallahassee, Mark developed the weather program at Florida's News Channel's statewide cable network start up in the late 1990s. Mark spent his childhood surfing, boating and enjoying the outdoors. Weather always factored into his active hobbies. "People are most skilled doing tasks that are appealing, so it was natural for me to make a career out of meteorology." His weather passion comes from experiencing many severe weather events. Hurricane Elena in 1985 and the 1993 Storm of the Century inspired Mark's weather interest. "I recall the three days held up in a shelter as Elena churned 60 miles offshore. I came back to a damaged home on the Gulf. Having weathered some of Florida's worst hurricanes, I have perspective on storms without being over sensational." Mark received his Bachelors of Science at Florida State University. He studied meteorology there and at Mississippi State University which prepared him for Jacksonville's volatile convective weather pattern. Career highlights include becoming the first AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist in Jacksonville and flying aboard NOAA's hurricane hunters. Chances are you will spot Mark at the beach with his daughter and wife, who graduated from Flagler College, or at any of our small ethnic eateries around town.