Breaking News
More () »

June Bacon-Bercey, a trailblazer in the world of meteorology

June Bacon-Bercey was the first Black female TV meteorologist in the United States, opening doors and paving the way for generations to come.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Feb. 5 marks National Weatherperson's Day — a day that commemorates the birth of John Jeffries who was one of the first weather observers in the country.

This month is also Black History Month and 10TV is working all month long to bring you stories in our community and beyond that highlight Black men and women.

June Bacon-Bercey was the first African American broadcast meteorologist, the first female broadcast meteorologist and the first female chief meteorologist in the U.S.

Her story starts in Wichita, Kansas in 1928 where she was born. She received her first degree in mathematics at Friends University of Wichita before moving to Los Angeles, California. 

RELATED: Wilfried Nancy talks about becoming Columbus Crew's first Black head coach

She also studied meteorology at UCLA, and in 1954, she was the first Black woman to graduate with a meteorology degree from the school.

From there, she entered what was known as the U.S. Weather Bureau, now known as the National Weather Service, as a weather forecaster.

In the 1960s she decided to go back to school to pursue a journalism degree at NYU. After graduating, she started as a science reporter at WGRZ, 10TV's sister station in Buffalo.

Her debut on the weather wall was in 1972 after the chief meteorologist was fired abruptly and Bacon-Bercey was put on air in his place later that day. Within just four months of becoming the first Black female meteorologist, she was promoted and became the first-ever female chief meteorologist.

Shortly after, she became the first woman and first African American to receive the American Meteorological Society's seal of approval.

From there her career continued to grow, she left WGRZ in 1979 to work for the Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Association as their chief of weather and television services.

She also went on to create a scholarship for women in meteorology and helped fund the meteorology program at Jackson State University in Mississippi, which focuses on bringing more African Americans into the field.

Bacon-Bercey died at 90 years old in January 2020, and in her honor, the American Meteorological Society renamed the Award for Broadcast Meteorology the June Bacon-Bercey Award in 2021.

Before You Leave, Check This Out