Meteorologist visits Erwin Elementary fourth-graders

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By Jesef Williams

Enter Kelly Franson’s world – one made up of ever-changing forecasts and weather instruments many people can’t pronounce.

Franson, a meteorologist with WBTV channel 3 in Charlotte, visited Erwin Elementary School on Oct. 14, when she talked to fourth-graders about her career in weather.

An Idaho native, Franson has been working at WBTV for about two years. Before then, she had worked at two TV stations in her home state.  

Franson’s love of science and curiosity as a youth attracted her to the field of meteorology. She said she enjoys talking to children about the profession.

During her Erwin Elementary visit, Franson touched on her work schedule, which can be inconsistent to say the least. Some days she doesn’t get off until midnight, while some work days start as early as 3 a.m.

She said she spends most of her time at the computer and about 10 minutes on camera talking about the weather.

Students were curious about working on TV.

“What type of clothes can you wear?” one student asked.

That came in response to a comment about the “green screen” – as green is the color of the backdrop where meteorologists give their live weather updates. Viewers don’t see the green though – they see weather maps, radars and the other TV graphics that comprise the weather portion of the news.  

Because she works in front of the green screen, Franson can’t wear green or certain shades of blue on camera. If she did, the result wouldn’t be good – parts of her body would appear erased on TV.

Franson discussed weather patterns and phenomena such as hurricanes, tornadoes and snow storms. She recounted living in North Dakota at times when the snow reached almost to the top of the phone lines.

That amount of snow is a major hazard, especially when it turns to large puddles of water.

“I love snow, but that’s not fun,” she said. “Eventually that snow has to melt.”

Franson told students about various weather instruments, such as the barometer to measure air pressure, the hygrometer to measure humidity and the anemometer to measure wind speed.

“She has a tough job and she’s good at it,” said student Brady Hinkle. “When she showed us all the instruments, some I didn’t have a clue what they were.”

Franson hopes she taught students some valuable lessons about science.

“They asked some good questions,” she said about the fourth-graders. “Hopefully, they learned something and realize science is fun and doesn’t have to be serious and out the text book all the time.”

Erwin Elementary Assistant Principal Deirdra Chandler said the school tries to get a meteorologist to visit at least once a year.

Chandler said Franson did an excellent job.

“We were excited about her coming,” Chandler said. “It was great for her to share her expertise with the kids.”

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152