At five years old, Melissa Nord was terrified of thunderstorms. Now, she is an Emmy-winning certified broadcast meteorologist, having covered everything from winter storms to tornado outbreaks.
Nord recently joined 11Alive News in Atlanta as their weekend morning meteorologist.
“It’s been a dream of mine to come back home to Atlanta to forecast,” Nord said.
Growing up, Nord was intrigued by the weather channel coverage, to the point where, even as a child she would sometimes stay at home and watch it instead of going outside and playing.
“I saw these meteorologists, these scientists talking about the different aspects of each storm and they were standing outside in the elements, not scared, but [rather] informing people of what to expect,” Nord said. “My fear grew into fascination … that’s why I got interested in weather.”
Nord grew up in the Atlanta area and attended Tech for her undergraduate degree in EAS.
“I think what’s great about the EAS program at Georgia Tech is you have so many options,” Nord said. “You really [get] to find your niche and what you [are] interested in and [are] not interested in and I landed upon broadcasting.”
During her time at Tech, being involved with the Tech Cable Network, where she started a weekly weather forecast, gaining experience from her internships and being pushed out of her comfort zone in her synoptic meteorology class were some of the things that Nord believes helped her in her future career.
“I think that class in combination with the cable network really prepared me to not only understand the science and talk about the science in a professional manner, but also communicate it on television,” Nord said.
It was once she started working in her internships that Nord felt she realized all that went into doing forecasts for TV.
“Every single microclimate that you forecast in all the different areas of the country, [they] all have different challenges,” Nord said. “So you have to re-learn how to forecast in those places.”
Looking back, Nord believed that her first job was quite tough.
“I think once you get past those first jobs where you kind of pay your dues, where it’s rougher than normal, you find a good balance where you really enjoy what you’re doing professionally, but you also [can] still make up for time lost with family,” Nord said.
Nord feels that having good relationships with family members and maintaining close friendships is a value that has been really important to her throughout her journey.
“Life is short and you need to spend time with your family,” Nord said. “It’s better to have, I think, fewer good relationships than a bunch of superficial, surface-level relationships … I think that we can do all we want in our careers, but at the end of the day, that’s just one part of your life. If you don’t have happiness, what’s the point, right?”
Reflecting on her own career so far, Nord is thankful that she has been able to really come into her own.
Although when she graduated, she was equipped with lots of knowledge, it was growing into who she is as a scientist and a communicator that was important to her.
“I think that I’ve developed my own craft and style of doing things in the last few years and let my personality come out,” Nord said.
Nord is also very grateful that she seems to have found the perfect niche for who she is.
“I always thought, if I don’t go into weather, I want to be a teacher,” Nord said.
Within broadcast meteorology, Nord is able to combine her passion for science with teaching.
She gets to do community outreach, including visiting schools and community outreach.
“I think it’s most rewarding to me when I inspire someone to be interested in the science of the weather,” Nord said. “I think weather resonates with a lot of people and I just fell in love with it.”