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Mar 18, 2021

Meet Meteorologist Michelle Augustine

Our profiles on Belizean women in various professions continue tonight with another woman in the sciences.  This time she is a meteorologist and a veteran of the Met Service. Although she stumbled into this as a career, Michelle Augustine urges young women interested in math and physics to consider joining her and the other women in charge of monitoring Belize’s weather on both sunny and rainy days.

 

Michelle Augustine, Deputy Chief Meteorologist

“The satellite picture shows mainly fair and dry weather over the country at the moment, however, that is expected to change later today because we have a cold front over the….”

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Michelle Augustine is the deputy chief meteorologist and the head of the forecasting team with the National Meteorological Service. She has been working here for more than twenty-years.

 

Michelle Augustine

“It gives me great pleasure to be able to inform people about what to expect where the weather is concerned because as we all know the weather is really important for day to day activities. So, it is really an inspiring job to be able to provide that information to people.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What is it like to work as meteorologist? What is a typical day like?”

 

Michelle Augustine

Michelle Augustine

“Well, a typical day at the met service even when the weather is good there is always work to do. For instance, we have to constantly monitor the weather.  Even though it might look like a slow day, when it is a bright sunny day it is actually a day that we still need to perform our duties. We still need to forecast that good weather and observe the good weather.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Talk to me – what is that like working during the hurricane season?”

 

Michelle Augustine

“Yes, that is a challenging time I must admit but it is also an exciting time because you get to know firsthand what will happen. I have found it is always great experience to inform people to have them be prepared to get ready early in the advent of a passage of a storm system. So, that for me is a fulfilling part of my career to inform the general public.”

 

Augustine started working at the National Meteorological Service in the late 90’s.  At that time there were just a few women working here. A lot has changed since then and she says it is all for the better.

 

Michelle Augustine

“It was a male dominated setting. I can recall it was only about four females when I joined the service in 1997. Now, I am happy to report that has almost tripled. To add to that, we actually have a full female forecasting team at the moment. We don’t have any permanent male forecasters – so that is certainly an enlightening experience for me to experience that in my tenure.  The meteorology service is a shift system so you have to work weekends, holidays, nights and then as a woman with a family and children – at the time I had small children and so it was definitely challenging to balance both my work and home life. So, definitely challenging years but here I am twenty three plus years later.”

 

 

And now she hopes that other women in Belize will take up the call to pursue careers in this field. She says the National Met Service is ripe with opportunities for work and it’s an environment that champions staff development.

 

Michelle Augustine

“The MET service definitely offers a lot of opportunity to study abroad because most of the courses we need to advance in the service are only offered outside of BelizeSTEM is very important in meteorology so I would like to encourage anyone who is interested in math and physics, specifically – that is an asset to have.  We are still a small staff and we have so much to do and so much to do in the future. But because of staffing limitations we are not able to fulfill some of those. But there is an opportunity for women to join the met service and to advance.”

 

The Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction wants to see more women like Augustine advance in this field. So, for the ministry, Augustine’s story is one of service that needs to be shared.

 

Orlando Habet

Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction

“We may hear them on the radio giving the weather report but we don’t know all that is involved and the sacrifices that these people have done. So, we believe that it is time to do that recognition. So, we certainly congratulate Mrs. Michelle Augustine, the Deputy Chief Meteorologist.”

 

Augustine’s didn’t have a dream to become a meteorologist but today she believes that it’s not an accident that she ended up in this job.

 

Michelle Augustine

“In starting the service I didn’t have an ambition to get to this position but with time met grows on you. It is definitely a position that you learn to love. I was very surprised to be able to reach this position.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Is there anything you would change or do you feel that you have found your purpose in life?”

 

Michelle Augustine

“I definitely feel that I have found my purpose in life. I have no regrets about my time here. None, whatsoever. This job is fulfilling; exciting.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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