OAKLAND, Calif. - It's no secret that longtime meteorologist Roberta Gonzales is both a consummate professional and a devout Christian.
She's been forecasting the weather since 1981 and a Eucharist minister at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Pleasanton.
And on Dec. 30, those two aspects of her life came to a head.
Gonzales was on her way to work at KTVU shortly before 2 a.m. traveling on Interstate Highway 880.
But she realized she had forgotten something.
Every morning since 1996, she has said a blessing in her driveway.
"I bless everyone in my home to be safe while I'm away," Gonzales said.
But on that rainy morning – one of many storms to be pummeling California – Gonzales had forgotten to say her daily prayer.
So, she circled back and returned to her driveway. She gestured the sign of the cross and asked God to keep her two sons safe. She lost both of her parents and her two brothers, and prayer is a way to help her deal with all that pain from their deaths.
And then she headed back out on the road.
Just then, the driver of a big rig drove past her at about 62 mph on I-880 at High Street in Oakland, splashing water and debris all over her car. He hit another car and overturned, wedging his rig along the center divide. The roads were slick and the sky was dark.
Gonzales was the first car behind him and witnessed what happened.
Plastic bits and metal shards flew into the air right at her. But she wasn't hit and neither she nor her car suffered any damage.
Gonzales knew she wouldn't make it into work that morning.
So she told the producers to send a camera out to her.
She could do the weather – and traffic – from the scene. She wanted to be on the front lines to deliver the biggest news story of the morning.
"I don't know how it didn't hit my car but by the blessings of dear Lord Jesus," Gonzales said in her live report from the highway.
Gonzales didn't just report from the scene. She came to the driver's aid, too.
She called 911 and checked on the driver, who she said had a bloody knee.
Her mother had always reminded her that she wouldn't be remembered for being the best meteorologist in the world; she'd be remembered for being a great humanitarian and philanthropist.
She must use her role on TV as a forecaster for good, her mother told her.
Viewers paid attention.
Hunter Phan commented on YouTube: "Love to Roberta! So glad she's OK. Great reporting. She's been my most favorite meteorologist since watching her forecast on TV in 2008."
And fans appreciated her devotion, as well.
"She's not only an incredible reporter in giving all the praise to her Lord Jesus for protecting her," Glenn Christie wrote. "But she was also not afraid to speak up mentioning the road conditions and how the semi driver was traveling too fast."
Making time for her blessing was not lost on Gonzales, either.
She believes that few minutes of prayer saved her from greater harm.
"The timing of it all," Gonzales said. "If I hadn't gone back home to say my blessings, 30 seconds later, I would have been in the thick of it."