“We’re the ones that set off the tones on the radio. We’re the ones who send out those crawlers when you’re watching your favorite TV show,” says Levan, the warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Buffalo.
Her region covers the western third of New York and reaches up into the Thousand Islands, so her team’s warnings affect a lot of people.
“We really try to discern between a severe storm and a nuisance,” she says. “Things aren’t always black and white.”
Perhaps the tougher part of the job is determining the best ways to reach people. Judy preaches preparedness as a liaison to media, law enforcement, other officials and the general public in the form of outreach campaigns.
Her journey with the NWS started some 30 years ago as an intern. She credits the connections fostered by Oswego’s strong meteorology program, which has produced so many professionals. In fact, many of Levan’s colleagues and peers are alumni.
She’s stayed connected to the college by hosting the Oswego Weather Club in Buffalo for several years.
“I think the overall culture of the school is one of inclusion,” says Levan, one of only a few females in the meteorology program during her college experience. “In my four years at Oswego, it was like home to me.”
—Shane M. Liebler