Mark Peña joins the 7News team from his hometown of Austin, Texas, which was also where he last worked.
Mark’s passion for the weather goes back to his childhood. In 1997, the last F5 tornado to hit the entire state of Texas decimated the small town of Jarrell, just 10 miles north of where he and his family were living. He vividly remembers the destruction and was terrified of any thunderstorm for some time thereafter. His fear of thunderstorms slowly turned into a passion. Anytime the weather got bad, Mark was glued to the tv, watching, observing, and unintentionally learning about the science of meteorology.
After high school, Mark earned a degree in communication which landed him a job at Facebook. It was there that he realized his true calling was the weather. Mark enrolled in the Mississippi State and earned his Bachelor of Science in Broadcast and Operational Meteorology degree. He interned with the KVUE Weather Team, and was able to land his first professional on-air meteorologist job at KLBK News in Lubbock, Texas. Here, Mark forecasted everything from wintry weather, severe weather, dust storms, flooding, and he even chased tornadoes!
From Lubbock, Mark moved back to his hometown of Austin at KXAN News. There Mark faced some significant weather coverage including the 2021 winter storm, now called ‘The Great Texas Freeze’ that brought Austin over a half a foot of snow, ice and major power outages. He also covered the historically active hurricane season of 2020 where there were 31 named storms. He and his team forecasted two storms that made landfall, Hurricane Hanna and Tropical Storm Beta, as well as several close calls that ended up hitting near the Texas/Louisiana border.
From the Texas capital to the nation’s capital, Mark is excited to be in DC and forecasting for an area that experiences all four seasons! In Mark’s free time, he enjoys being outside going for a run or bike ride, staying active, and traveling. He welcomes any recommendations for Mexican food and great Maryland crab! He also loves taking his cockapoo Calvin to the numerous dog parks around the DMV.