By Karen Cortés
While most of us were suffering in the dark and cold of Storm Alfred last year, WTNH meteorologist Erika Martin was forecasting weather in California’s San Francisco Bay area. The Connecticut native made it back to New England with time to spare for Superstorm Sandy, joining Storm Team 8 in March.
Five years ago, the longtime television host and reporter was working for KNBC in Los Angeles when she decided to return to school to study meteorology. “I wanted to challenge myself and my confidence,” says Martin. “I went back to school to do what I love, incorporating television and science.”
She interned with the National Weather Service, and was offered a meteorology job during her first semester. Before coming to WTNH, Martin also forecasted weather in the Sierra Nevada region, including Northern Nevada and Northern California, and Western Massachusetts.
Martin says that as a Latina, she sees a shift in culture. “There is more support for Latinas in science,” she says. “It’s so important, not just for Latinas but for all Americans, to apply themselves in science and math. The future is in science and engineering. It’s hard, but if you dedicate yourself, there’s a payoff. Great things happen!”
Martin arrived at WTNH with what some of her competitors might consider an unfair ratings base. Her mother is the oldest of 13 children, and nearly her entire extended family lives in Connecticut and Western Mass. She is also joined in Connecticut by her husband of seven years, Robert, whose bi-coastal career allows the couple to spend about half of their time together.
On a quiet weather day, Martin arrives at the studio at around two o’clock for a 5 o’clock broadcast, but meteorology is a 24-hour-a-day job. Martin is constantly checking the most recent data no matter what time of day it is. “Weather is transient. My husband has to pull my iPhone out of my hand at dinner,” says Martin.
Looking forward, Martin hopes to pursue a Ph.D. and eventually teach, following in the footsteps of her idol, the late Ch. 8 weatherman Dr. Mel Goldstein.
Martin’s professional affiliations include the American Meteorological Society, Society of Professional Journalists, and The National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She holds a degree in broadcast journalism from Santa Monica College, and is a graduate of the meteorology program of Mississippi State University.
By Karen Cortés