Local 4 News expanding 4Warn Weather team with additions of Ron Hilliard, Ashlee Baracy

Ron Hilliard, Ashlee Baracy join most experienced team of forecasters in market

Ron Hilliard and Ashlee Baracy. (WDIV)

DETROIT – The 4Warn Weather Team on Local 4 News is expanding the station’s weather coverage on all content platforms -- Local 4 News on TV, ClickOnDetroit.com on the web, the 4Warn Weather app, and streaming channel Local 4+ -- with the additions of Ron Hilliard and Ashlee Baracy, WDIV Vice President and General Manager Bob Ellis announced.

“Our commitment to weather coverage has never been stronger, and we think having people who grew up here gives us an edge,” Ellis said. “Ron grew up in Detroit, Ashlee grew up in Westland, and both are experienced, proven, trusted scientists with a track record for accuracy and dependability. Viewers will see immediately their passion and dedication and how thrilled they are to be back in their hometown.”

Ron joins WDIV from just up I-75, where he is a weather and news reporter at WEYI-TV and WSMH-TV in the Flint and Saginaw areas. Ron has a tremendous passion for meteorology, which started at a young age. He’s covered all types of weather -- from snow to tornadoes to thunderstorms. Ron has also worked in Erie, Pennsylvania, and was a finalist in the TBS show “America’s Next Weatherman.”

“Weather impacts our daily lives, and when it turns severe, each decision matters and every second counts,” Ron said. “I understand the tremendous responsibility to convey accurate information that you can use to make the best decisions for yourself and your family. It is an honor to return home and join the 4Warn Weather team.”

Ron is a Detroiter through and through. He grew up on Detroit’s northwest side and graduated from Communication and Media Arts High School. Ron is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and Specs Howard School of Media Arts.

During his time at MSU, Ron studied at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico for a year. He is currently enrolled at Mississippi State University, where he is continuing his post-graduate work in meteorology studies. Ron is excited to put the exclusive 4Warn Weather technology to work.

Ashlee is no stranger to Southeast Michigan and WDIV-TV. She grew up in Westland and went to school at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. She started her TV career at Local 4 as a traffic reporter. While at WDIV, Ashlee earned her meteorology degree from Mississippi State University and made the move to WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio seven years ago, where her work earned her the title as the station’s first female chief meteorologist. In her time there, she won an Emmy award and worked tirelessly encouraging young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. She’s covered every type of weather possible and recognizes as a meteorologist her immense responsibility as the first line of communication to the people in Southeast Michigan.

“Home is where your heart is, and I couldn’t be happier to be back forecasting the weather for my hometown community,” Ashlee said. “Whether it’s preparing your kids for the bus stop or keeping your family safe during severe weather, I understand that each forecast is important and will work hard to earn your trust.”

While away, Ashlee got married and started a family. She and her husband Jeff have two children, Carter and Caylee.

Earlier this year, the station sharpened its focus on covering local weather under the 4Warn Weather brand. Using the most powerful weather technology available today, which is exclusive to Local 4 News, the station gives viewers the most up-to-the-minute information pinpointed for each neighborhood, so they are always prepared. The Exact Track 4D Radar technology provides street-level weather data, so you can plan your day with a forecast available daily on all platforms.

Both Ron and Ashlee will start at the station after the first of the year, and their roles will be announced in January.

About WDIV-Local 4

Local 4 News is currently the No. 1 newscast at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. in Nielsen ratings for the Detroit television market. WDIV is the No. 1 NBC affiliate in the top 20 LPM markets. In addition, Local 4′s ClickOnDetroit.com is a top breaking news and weather website and the No. 1 news website in Metro Detroit. Local 4+ -- WDIV’s free streaming app that is available on Fire TV, Roku, Google TV and Apple TV -- brings viewers live, original, and on-demand programming.

About the Authors:

Donna is a Creative Services producer.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.