Jim Reif has died after a bike accident, leading to an outpouring of condolences for the popular south Florida meteorologist.
Reif was director of meteorology for NBC2 and had worked in southwest Florida for decades. Reif had also recently gotten engaged to his girlfriend.
“Jim was involved in a tragic bicycle accident Sunday afternoon,” the station noted. “While riding his bike on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway, his bicycle hit a sign, throwing him to the ground. Jim hit his head on the curb and suffered traumatic injuries to the head.
“First responders were able to get to the scene in a matter of minutes because the accident happened less than a mile away from the fire station. It’s unclear what caused the accident.”
Jim Reif started his career in Fort Myers in 1979 and gained a reputation as a hurricane specialist. In 2004 he was honored as the Naples Daily News Person of the Year for his leadership in Waterman Broadcasting’s coverage of Hurricane Charley.
“For well over two decades, Jim was also a pioneer in a proactive hurricane awareness program in tandem with the National Hurricane Center and local divisions of Emergency Management in Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Glades and Hendry counties,” NBC2 noted.
After Jim Reif died in the bike accident, many viewers and co-workers took to social media to share their memories of him.
— Bryan Anderson (@Bryan__Anderson) April 8, 2014
Mike Batey, who worked in production at NBC4, said he always looked forward to a Jim Reif weather segment not only because of his knowledge but “because of the subtle things about the weather that would always seem to make him giggle.”
“He had 4 phrases that he might say during any weather hit that I loved: ‘Bubble of High Pressure,’ ‘Juicy Tropical Air Mass,’ ‘Balmy Bahama Breeze,’ and of course my favorite ‘Swath of Moisture,’ ” Batey shared on Facebook. “We in production would always joke that if Jim Reif ever came up with a line of Bubble Gum… those would be his 4 flavors.”
After Jim Reif died of the bike accident, NBC4 and family members asked for continued prayers and support.