Channel 7 sure picked a hot weekend to introduce its newest meteorologist.
Jessica McLaughlin became the station’s fourth meteorologist over the weekend, joining a weather staff that includes Aaron Mentkowski, Mike Randall and Autumn Lewandowski.
Until recently, the station’s weather staff had been smaller than rivals Channel 4 and Channel 2. Channel 4 had four meteorologists before Amelia Segal left for Washington, D.C. The station, which is known to be slow to fill openings, is still looking for her replacement. Channel 2 has five weather staffers – Kevin O’Connell, Andy Parker, Maria Genero, Mary Beth Wrobel and Jennifer Stanonis.
Like Stanonis, McLaughlin has a SUNY Brockport State meteorology degree.
“We felt an additional meteorologist with credentials was necessary to be able to more effectively and credibly serve our viewers,” said General Manager Mike Nurse.
McLaughlin’s hiring is further evidence of the importance of weather in this market. Nurse also recently added a third sports staffer – one more than Channel 4 – in Jason Gruenauer, who no longer will have to fill-in on weather as he occasionally did before McLaughlin was hired.
McLaughlin told Channel 7 weekend anchor Kendra Eaglin on Sunday that she is a Lancaster native who recently worked in Iowa.
According to a Google search, she graduated from Lancaster High School a decade ago and four years later received a degree from Brockport State in meteorology, with a minor in math.
The Google search also reveals that her work at a station in Mason City, Iowa, included reporting on floods, blizzards and tornadoes. A story on a website she designed said that she saw her first tornado while storm-chasing in Iowa with her father three years ago.
• My story in Sunday’s Buffalo News about discovering new cable channels probably should have mentioned how many local Time Warner subscribers found SyFy after the campy film “Sharknado” blew up Twitter last Thursday. The film, which will be repeated at 7 p.m. Thursday, had a 1.3 rating in Western New York. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is better than the channel usually averages here. The film reportedly didn’t do very well nationally, though it got a celebrity Twitter boost, perhaps due to the fact it was set in Los Angeles.