PUNXSUTAWNEY— Freddy the Frogcaster meet Punxsutawney Phil the Prognosticator! Janice Dean, Fox News Senior Meteorologist and author of the Freddy the Frogcaster children’s book series will be honored as the 2017 inductee into the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center’s Meteorologist Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m.
Dean, who grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and experienced harsh winter weather there, says that when she was young, she had an interest in how meteorologists do their job and are able to warn people in advance of dangerous weather. But after college, as she began her broadcast career, it was initially in radio as a co-host, reporter and DJ in Ottawa. As time went on, Dean worked in radio in both Houston and New York City, including being the news editor and entertainment reporter for “Imus in the Morning,” which aired on WFAN-AM in New York and was simulcast nationally on MSNBC.
Then in 2004, Dean joined the Fox News Channel (FNC) as a “weather presenter” and began her education to become a broadcast meteorologist. Today, she is a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and in 2009 was awarded the AMS Seal of Approval. During her tenure at FNC, she has covered major storms including Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and the Moore, Okla., EF5 tornado in 2013.
Dean loves her job as a television meteorologist, but she has also has another love: teaching children about weather and how to be prepared for the worst of it. Having two young children and being a meteorologist, Dean says she was often asked for recommendations for weather books for children, so she began looking into what was available. What she found was that there were some basic books and others that were more advanced, but she felt there was a need for an intermediate level book that would describe the conditions for severe weather. And so, the Freddy the Frogcaster series was born.
“Now that I’ve written these books and spoken to thousands of kids about weather, I think this is one of the most important things I’ve ever done,” says Dean. “Kids are so excited to talk about weather. If we can tap into some of that excitement and teach them how to prepare in advance, that can help take the scare out of a potentially serious weather event.”
To date, the Freddy the Frogcaster series has grown to four books: the first, entitled Freddy the Frogcaster, followed by Freddy the Frogcaster and the Big Blizzard, Freddy the Frogcaster and the Huge Hurricane, and just last year, Freddy the Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado. In the books, Dean’s child-friendly message focuses on how to prepare for all types of weather and, in addition to the story, includes a section on weather and meteorology facts.
On the day before Groundhog Day, Janice Dean will enter the Meteorologist Hall of Fame alongside such giants of the weather world as Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel; Dr. Richard Alley, Penn State professor of geosciences and a glaciologist; and last year’s inductee, Dr. Louis Uccellini, the director of the National Weather Service and the assistant administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dean will be the fourteenth inductee into the Hall of Fame, which honors meteorologists, scientists, and weather professionals who have made significant contributions to the science of weather.
The Meteorologist Hall of Fame induction ceremony is open to the public with a $6 admission to the Weather Discovery Center. To read more about this event, and other activities scheduled during the Groundhog Day celebration—including book signings and readings by Janice Dean— visit Weatherdiscovery.org.
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