Updated On: May 26 2014 03:39:35 PM CDT
Ellen Bacca has always loved the weather. In elementary school she started a “storm chasing” club that met on the playground each day, and at the age of 11 she “predicted” a tornado on the way home from school after spotting swirling clouds in the dark sky.
When a tornado warning was issued that night in her hometown in Southwest Michigan, she knew the career she wanted to pursue.
Ellen graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Valparaiso University in 2010 with minors in mathematics and communication. She was the president of the local chapter of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. At Valpo, she studied everything from Tropical Meteorology to Climatology to Severe Storm Nowcasting. She was even able to go storm chasing with 20 of her classmates for almost two weeks in the Great Plains. While chasing, she saw two tornadoes, six mesocyclones (strong storms with rotating updrafts), and three high wind events.
Just two weeks after graduating, Ellen moved across the nation to Helena, Mont. For two years she was the Chief Meteorologist at Beartooth NBC; where she forecasted for tough microclimates in the mountain west. When she wasn’t tracking a fierce snow storm or a smoke plume from a nearby forest fire, Ellen spent her time in the mountains. Hiking and rock climbing were some of her favorite hobbies, along with floating the Missouri River or canoeing glacial lakes. Ellen was sure to take advantage of her close proximity to Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, and spent many weekends there.
Ellen said she loves the East Coast and can’t get enough of the seafood. Ellen also said she is ready to tackle tough forecasting challenges in Eastern North Carolina like sea breezes and hurricanes.