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Frances C. Holt


"If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute" was a phrase that Frances heard often in her youth. Hailing from a small rural town in Massachusetts, weather was a topic of interest that grew into a career. Frances met a meteorologist at the Worcester Weather Bureau when she was working on a Girl Scout badge. She then did several science fair projects on snow crystal patterns and snow accumulations. She received her first job offer as the result of a state science fair competition. That job was her introduction to the earliest satellites, the TIROS.

Frances received her bachelors degree in meteorology from New York University. She then went to work for the National Environmental Satellite Center just outside Washington D.C. There she worked to develop applications of satellite data for weather forecasting and analysis. It was an exciting decade as new satellites with more and better sensors were launched allowing surveillance of storm development both day and night. During this time she wrote many articles and conducted training workshops for weather forecasters all around the country on how to use this data. Her work has taken her to all corners of the US and to England and South America. In 1975, she received a University Study Assignment in meteorology and returned to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

In 1978, she became the manager of a NOAA Satellite Field Services Stations in Anchorage, Alaska. There she introduced the use of animated geostationary data and developed a sea surface temperature program that aided the important fishing industry of the state. In 1981, she returned to the Washington D.C. area as Chief of the Environmental Products Branch where new interactive computer techniques were being developed for satellite data. Frances is now the Chief of the Physical Science Branch of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service where advanced applications of the newest satellite data are being developed and meteorologists are working on programs to estimate heavy precipitation, locate and forecast turbulence, improve tropical storm forecasting, and monitor coastal ocean conditions. New sensors in the microwave and mid-infrared are being flown on satellites and new doppler radars and wind profilers on the ground are revealing more and more clues to the mysteries that contribute to our weather and climate. Communication networks and computers allow us to monitor weather all over the world with a few keyboard commands. Science, math and computer proficiency are a must in this field today. Strong writing and speaking skills are necessary to be able to communicate research results and transfer them into daily use.

Frances lives in Maryland and is married. She likes tending to her flowers and yard, enjoying the weather firsthand. She also enjoys crafts, stamp collecting, and antiquing, especially searching for old ink wells and animal bronzes.