Hidden History: America’s first female meteorologist spent time working in Buffalo

Black History Month

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–The weather changes in Western New York at the drop of a hat and we rely on meteorologists to give up the most up-to-date forecasts.

One woman who paved the way for change while forecasting weather was Dr. June Bacon Bercey, America’s first female meteorologist. She worked right here in Buffalo.

That rich history in Buffalo goes beyond the history museum or the waterfront. In fact, it reaches all the way to your TV screen.

“She wasn’t a weather girl, she was a scientist,” Buffalo media historian Steve Cichon said. “She brought a professionalism, a scientific background things that we all take for granted now. When you turn on the television now and you see somebody delivering the weather, you assume that they have some type of scientific background.”

She was also the first black woman to earn a meteorology degree in the country.

Cichon says her opportunity came just as quickly as the Western New York weather changes.

In a then male-dominated industry where women mainly worked as the receptionist at a TV station, he says Bercey is a pioneer.

Dr. Bercey left Buffalo after just a few years and went on to work for the National Weather Service in another city.

Bercey died at the age of 90 in July but her story and accomplishment live on, only more recently.

News of Bercey being the first female meteorologist flooded the internet in the last few weeks after a story was shared of her passing.

Cichon says her time in on-air in Buffalo was monumental but believes even she wouldn’t have called it that.

“It’s because she wasn’t out to promote herself, she was out to be a scientist and get the job done,” he said.

Though she may have been a hidden gem, Cichon’s happy she’s getting the shine she deserves.

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