Local meteorologist hangs up his radar

June 20, 2017

After 32 years in the field, meteorologist Glenn Lussky has announced his retirement.

Lussky entered college in the 1970s planning on studying fish and game management. “There was a lot of attention to the environment and things like that back then,” he said. However, career prospects were not promising.

After taking a class in meteorology, Lussky changed his major. “I had always loved the weather, so I got kind of turned on to that,” he said.

Lussky transferred from the University of Minnesota to the University of Wisconsin, where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

After graduation, Lussky began his National Weather Service career in Salt Lake City, Utah. He followed this with a stint at the Operations Support Facility in Norman, Okla., before becoming the deputy meteorologist in charge for the Twin Cities National Weather Service Office.

“We’re not just forecasting the weather,” Lusky said. “We’re trying to communicate information about how what we’re going to see is going to impact you.”

In 1994, Glenn was chosen to lead a modernization project for the La Crosse, Wis., weather service.

“I got to see through that process, all the technology that has come through since then,” he said. “How fortunate, as you go along in your career and get to experience all those new technologies and see how that can help us provide better information for people to make better choices on a day-to-day basis.

Through his career, Lussky has witnessed significant changes in the technology available for meteorologists. “Thirty years ago, we were just getting computers into the National Weather Service,” he said. Before the digitalization process, forecasters used tools such as paper maps to trace the weather patterns. “We’ve gone from that to everything being totally digital today,” he said. As part of the modernization process in the mid-90s, Lussky helped the La Crosse office adopt the Doppler radar, a “tremendous tool for severe weather.”

Meteorologist Todd Shea has worked with Lussky for the past 22 years.

“After we’ve had rounds of significant weather, there’s always that leadership there that makes sure we’re all headed in the right direction,” Shea said. “He did a great job all these years.”

Lussky will be retiring on June 30.

“I think everybody wants to make a difference in whatever it is that they do,” Lussky said.

“The thing that I’m most proud of is the team that we have in La Crosse. We have put together an outstanding group of people here who have relished and taken on that role of moving technology forward. We are, as an office, one of the leaders in the National Weather Service in terms of moving technology forward at the field level. I’m proud of how the staff reacts and responds to that and takes on that role,” he said. “This team here has done that, and I got to be a part of that.”