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The legacy of June Bacon-Bercey through the eyes of another meteorologist

A conversation with Janice Huff, Chief Meteorologist at WNBC-TV, about her special connection to former Channel 2 Reporter & Meteorologist June Bacon-Bercey.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In 1954, groundbreaking meteorologist June Bacon-Bercey became the first African American woman to earn a degree in meteorology from the University of Kansas. Then in the 1970s, June had the opportunity to present the weather on TV on Channel 2, marking another first: The first African American woman with a meteorology degree to do so. 

For Women’s History Month, current Storm Team 2 Meteorologist Elyse Smith expanded the story on this trailblazing meteorologist by speaking to another one, WNBC-TV Chief Meteorologist Janice Huff.

Janice Huff went from watching storms as a little girl in her hometown in South Carolina to tracking them across the country. A trailblazer in her own right, Janice became the first Chief Meteorologist at WNBC-TV in New York City. 

Last week Elyse spoke to Janice about her career, the state of women in meteorology, and how pioneers like June Bacon-Bercey helped pave the way for the next generation.   

Janice noted that "having someone like June Bacon-Bercey, even though I never saw her actually do television, the fact that she did it and I knew that she was a trailblazer, it allowed me to believe I could do it." And that she did! From summer internships with the National Weather Service to a career in television that took her across the country, from Georgia to St. Louis and San Francisco, ending in the biggest city in America with the top job at NBC4.

Although Janice never met June, they are connected in more ways than one. 

To start, both she nor June didn't intend to go into broadcast television, both leaping at the opportunity when it came along though. Each shattering ceilings at their respective NBC affiliate TV stations across New York state in their time. But it doesn't stop there. 

Janice told the story of how she met and befriended Dail St. Claire, June's daughter. And it was about two years until Janice learned who Dail's mother was. 

"There was one day we were having dinner or lunch and it sort of came out in the strangest way," Janice said. "And I said, 'you've been burying that lead all this time?!' So she and I are friends and we've been friends ever since.” 

A friendship forged by fate, lasting forever because of the love for weather.

Credit: Janice Huff



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