A Granite City local shatters the glass ceiling at the Storm Prediction Center

NORMAN, Oklahoma – March is Women’s History Month and we want to celebrate a woman originally from Granite City.

Your name is Liz Leitmanand she’s a meteorologist at the Storm Forecast Center in Norman, Oklahoma. The Granite City High School graduate’s job is to assess storm risk across the country. But it’s a lead forecaster issuing thunderstorm or tornado watches. And those chief forecasters had always been men.

That is, until February 15, 2023.

“I recently started training at the senior forecaster desk so I can help issue these clocks for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes,” explains Leitman. “And that’s exactly what I did on February 15 when I had the opportunity to release the first watch to be exhibited by a female forecaster at the Storm Prediction Center.”

In the Storm Prediction Center’s 70-year history, no woman had issued a storm watch until Leitman. Why? Like many fields of science, meteorology has historically been male-dominated.

“At SPC, I’ve been the only female forecaster out of 22 forecasters over the past 10 years,” she said. “We recently hired another woman. So now there are two of us.”

And SPC Lead Forecast job openings don’t come around often. Many remain in this position for 15 to 25 years.

“I was just fortunate to stay in my position long enough where I had the opportunity to train at the lead desk,” Leitman said.

Leitman is pleased with her performance raises awareness of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. She’s also pleased that more and more women are pursuing careers in weather.

“Our job is really difficult with changing shift work. It poses many challenges,” she said. “And I think our organization recognizes that and is taking steps to try to help with work-life balance.”

She doesn’t want girls and women to stop anyone from following their dreams.

“Don’t let anyone dictate your path. have for it. And along the way there will be other women to help you,” Leitman said.

https://fox2now.com/news/granite-city-native-smashes-glass-ceiling-at-storm-prediction-center/ A Granite City local shatters the glass ceiling at the Storm Prediction Center

Sarah Y. Kim

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