This Particular Storm Warning Made History

Alert from the national Storm Prediction Center was the first ever issued by a woman
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2023 7:46 AM CST
Updated Feb 19, 2023 8:08 AM CST
This Particular Thunderstorm Watch Made History
Elizabeth Leitman makes the call, in this screen shot.   (YouTube/5News)

The alert itself wasn't uncommon: On Wednesday, the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center warned that conditions were shaping up to create the potential for severe storms. What sets this one apart is that it was from Elizabeth Leitman, who became the first woman to issue a severe weather watch in the 70-year history of the SPC and its earlier variations, reports the New York Times. Another worker in the office in Norman, Oklahoma, recorded the moment for posterity, and Leitman later tweeted and spoke about her pride in notching a milestone for women in STEM, or science, tech, engineering, and math.

"Whether it's a woman or a person of color, whenever they see someone that looks like them doing something that they're passionate about ... they think, 'Hey, I can do this too,'" Leitman tells 5News in Oklahoma. She is the first woman to assume the role of lead forecaster for the agency. "These are national experts,” Bill Bunting, the chief of forecast operations at the center and Leitman's supervisor, tells the Times. “They are the best of the best.” (Read more meteorology stories.)

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