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July-August 2011

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On the Job: Tanja Fransen

Warning Coordination Meteorologist

Tanja Fransen has worked with the National Weather Service for 18 years, holding posts in Cheyenne, Wyoming; Williston, Bismarck, and Rapid City, North Dakota; and Scott's Bluff, Nebraska, before settling in Glasgow, Montana,10 years ago. As the warning coordination meteorologist in Glasgow, she has had her hands full this year with record 105.7 inches of winter snowfall and severe spring flooding.

How did you become interested in meteorology?

I've always liked science, and the Liman, Colorado, tornado back in 1990 [an F-3 that struck on June 6] is what got me interested in it. It occurred the summer before my senior year in high school. I lived in the mountains in Colorado, and the weather could be so extreme. We had the heavy snow, and then we'd get the hail storm from the front range. In one day you could get a thunderstorm that would drop 10 inches of snow, and four hours later it would all be melted. When I was accepted to the University of Northern Colorado, I decided that meteorology was the route I wanted to take.

KIMBRA CUTLIP is a freelance writer and former assistant editor for Weatherwise.

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