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Eye on the Sky: Steve Maleski hands the microphone to new meteorologist Megan Duncan

Two side-by-side portraits show, on the left, a man in a khaki down vest making a sideways peace-sign over one eye and smiling, and, on the right, a woman with brown hair and and a purple shirt and down jacket smiling in front of a snowy mountain.
Fairbanks Museum
Steve Maleski is retiring after 40 years as a meteorologist for Eye on the Sky, a weather program from Vermont Public and the Fairbanks Museum. Megan Duncan is the newest voice on the program — and the first female meteorologist at the Fairbanks Museum.

Steve Maleski, who has been forecasting the weather for Eye on the Sky for 40 years, is retiring. And, a new voice is joining meteorologists Mark Breen and Lawrence Hayes to keep Vermont Public listeners updated on the weather.

Megan Duncan joins the Fairbanks Museum as the institution’s first female meteorologist. She began her work at the museum the same week as the April 8 eclipse.

More from Vermont Public: Megan Duncan joins Fairbanks Museum as new voice for ‘Eye on the Sky’ forecasts

Duncan remembered experiencing a microburst — an occurrence that can cause high winds during a thunderstorm — as a child. Experiences like that one fed her curiosities about the weather.

She went on to study meteorology and was part of a cohort where she studied atmospheric rivers, which can impact rainfall and flooding.

Duncan has already begun teaching classes at the Fairbanks. She says her favorites so far have been her extreme weather class, as well as a class looking at how climate and weather affect amphibians.

Steve Maleski still remembers the day he knew he would grow up to be a meteorologist: June 2, 1961. As he was calling his dog inside, he experienced a thunderstorm rolling in, complete with towering, broccoli-like clouds and bolts of lighting.

“And then, I actually heard a voice say, ‘You will be a weatherman.’ … That gave an absolute direction to my life,” he said.

Throughout Maleski’s tenure, he became a beloved voice in the Vermont community. And the community was also there for him when, several years ago, he was diagnosed with leukemia and went through treatment. He remembered receiving mail when he was isolated in the hospital.

“That was extremely moving for me,” he said. “I cannot adequately express the amount of gratitude that I still feel today — and how fortunate I feel to be part of a community that would express so much support to me absolutely unexpectedly. … I am forever grateful for that.”

Duncan said Maleski’s passion and “insane amount of knowledge” has inspired her as she’s stepped into her new role.

Each meteorologist shared their most exciting weather events to forecast: Duncan said ice dams and when they break, inducing flooding downstream, are exciting to her. Dynamic weather events like severe thunderstorms in the summer and blizzards in the winter are what most excite Maleski.

Many listeners wrote in with memories and stories from Steve Maleski’s 40 years as an Eye on the Sky meteorologist. Here are some of those messages, lightly edited:

Sean in Weathersfield: On a field trip to the Fairbanks last month I was fortunate to meet meteorologists Mark Breen and Lawrence Hayes. The kids noticed that I was totally starstruck, like the time I met Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant at a fish market. I expressed to Mark and Steve my true thanks for the help they've given me over the years. I make hay, and always tune in for the mid-day forecast. Mark, Lawrence and Steve have been my trusted advisors for decades. Steve, thanks for all your help, and Godspeed. Megan, we welcome you, too. Maybe someday I'll be standing next to my baler in the rain, thinking of you!

Lee in Plymouth: I remember the first time I ever heard Eye on the Sky back in the summer of 1985 and thinking, “Wow! They really throw the kitchen sink into this forecast.” And then I grew to love the daily weather news journal and would make a point of listening to the radio at noon. For those who complain about the weather report being too long, you have no idea what you are missing. I have learned so much over these decades from Eye on the Sky. Thank you so much, Steve, and all the best!

Walt: My wife, Karen, loved the time that Steve did a promo for VPR in which he compared the layers of the atmosphere to a sandwich. My memories of Steve include many wonderful weather classes he taught at the museum for my Tunbridge fifth graders. We both have also loved his detailed and articulate, sometimes poetic, weather reports. Thank you, Steve!

Paul in Burlington: On the occasion of Steve Maleski's retirement, I wanted to share a great memory I have. Before he was a state senator, Phil Baruth was an English professor at UVM, and he occasionally did VPR commentaries and stories. Sometime between 1999 and 2001, he did a piece in which he was convinced that the Eye on the Sky guys weren't just forecasting the weather, but rather they were controlling the weather. In order to get to the truth and unmask the conspiracy, he decides to travel to the Fairbanks Museum to confront Steve Maleski and Mark Breen. Lo and behold, in an otherwise calm weather day, he encounters localized winds and storms that buffet him on his journey, seemingly indicating that the theory was true. It was a great story, very creative, and worth re-broadcasting if you can find it.

Jonathan in Ripton: On my way up to experience a Bread and Puppet performance, I stopped for a meal at the diner in St. Johnsbury — where I ended up getting into a wonderful conversation with Steve Maleski. Later that same day, I was pleasantly shocked when one of Bread and Puppet's skits included a parody of Eye on the Sky's Steve Maleski. Years before this, in another conversation with Steve, it was clear to me that he was way ahead of the curve on climate change. You know you have had an impact on Vermont when Bread and Puppet does a skit about you!

Darryl: I just moved back to Lyndonville after seven years, turned on the radio and heard Steve Maleski was retiring. Living in the NEK most of my life, and being interested in the weather, I have many fond memories of listening to Eye in the Sky. In later years I had the pleasure to meet Steve when I worked at White's Market. I would special order Virgil's Root Beer for him, and I remember him liking Moxie as well! Such a pleasant person! Best of luck!

Broadcast live on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Andrea Laurion joined Vermont Public as a news producer for Vermont Edition in December 2022. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., and a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. Before getting into audio, Andrea worked as an obituary writer, a lunch lady, a wedding photographer assistant, a children’s birthday party hostess, a haunted house actor, and an admin assistant many times over.