LEXINGTON — Mary Wasson has always had her eye on the sky.
Wasson, a 2000 graduate of George Rogers Clark High School, who has spent the past four years as morning and noon meteorologist at WTVQ Channel 36 in Lexington, did her final newscast Friday and will begin a new phase of weather forecasting next week in Austin, Texas. Wasson will be reporting the weather for “Your News Now,” a 24-7 news channel operated by Time Warner Cable.
“It’s like CNN, but a smaller version of it,” she said. “Almost every city in Texas has one.“
Not only will Wasson change jobs, but her shift hours will change. Currently, Wasson, part of the “Good Morning Kentucky” crew at the station, arrives at work at 4 a.m. and added that getting up at 3 a.m. in “the middle of the night is not normal.”
“I’m not a night owl, so I go to bed early,” she said with a smile. “It was an easy transition.”
In her new capacity, Wasson’s hours will be more of the 9-5 variety, a change of pace that she welcomes when she arrives, along with a different style of forecasting.
“They deal with droughts and hurricanes, and they have more super cells and tornado watches,” she said. “It’s going to be a different challenge and that’s one of the reasons why I decided to do it. It’s a new challenge and I need to learn everything I can (about weather forecasting).”
Wasson enjoyed her experience in Lexington and admitted that she was “more nervous coming back here than taking my first job.”
“I have loved it,” she said. “This is the only thing I have ever wanted to do. When I started at WTVQ four years ago, the support of my family and friends in Winchester really helped me and gave me the confidence to advance my career. I’m really going to miss my broadcasting to my friends and family but you never know, I may be back one day. It’s sad to leave your home (region), but to further your career, you have to move around. It’s sad to leave, but I am excited about forming new bonds in Austin.”
Wasson said the recent tornado outbreak last month and the ice storm of 2009 were her two most memorable events while in Lexington. Wasson said the severe weather pattern in April was “rough.”
“With my schedule in the middle of the night, and on weekends not knowing if severe weather was going to pop up and it was historic, because we were watching what was going on in Alabama and Mississippi and Georgia.¿We were lucky even though we had just as many severe thunderstorms and tornado watches. We were in the same boat they were. Those are two events that stand out to me.”
Prior to moving to Lexington, Wasson worked at KEVN at Rapid City, S.D., a colder climate than the one she dealt while growing up in Winchester.
“I got all the snow forcasting I could ever imagine,” she said.
Wasson’s husband Billy Triplett has been with Wasson all along the way, and has provided a solid supporting cast throughout her career. Wasson also has relied on her faith in God to direct each move throughout her career.
“God has really blessed me through the years and I thank Him for every step in my career,” she said. “I know that he has a plan and I feel like I’m following it.
Wasson’s interest in meteorology began when she was 7 years old. A tornado swept through her aunt’s neighborhood in Cincinnati.
“A tornado actually hit her house and took off part of roof, and landed on the house across the street and demoished that house,” she said. “I remember waking up the next morning after we came out of the basement, I didn’t understand what had happened. From then on, Mom and Dad would teach me about weather and I would sit there and watch the weather channel hours on end. They would ask why I was watching the Weather Channel instead of something else.”
Wasson will still be watching the weather, but in a different geographical region and different time zone.
“I will be able to watch my shows at night,” she said with a smile.