By Sue Misao
Northwest Asian Weekly
Mary Lee loves weather. She is especially passionate about extreme weather. She even moved to Texas just to be near severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, and flash flooding. “I’ve experienced golf-ball sized hail and flew into the eye of a hurricane,” she said, as if that’s a good thing.
For Lee, it’s all good. Since Sept. 30, she has been a KING 5 TV meteorologist, forecasting the weather on weekend mornings and most weekdays.
Lee, a California native, graduated from UC Davis before heading into Texas storms. She is happy to have landed in Seattle, where she can be near family (her father is a retired mechanical engineer from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton). She says Pacific Northwest climate and topography is every bit as interesting as Texas.
“There are more winter storms here,” she said. “It’s changing all the time.” Lee spends her days looking at different weather models, reading satellite and radar imagery, studying various analyses and observations, and “crunching calculations.”
Lee, who is Chinese American, takes pride in her Asian background. “It can be tough sometimes,” she said. “There are stereotypes for Asian Americans, but I think most people just see me as myself.”
Lee isn’t alone in her passion for extremes. Her mother, Kwong Yem Han, is a calligraphist, but not just any calligraphist. “She’s the Queen of the Big Brush,” said Lee. “She’s the only woman in the world who studied [in Beijing] under the King of the Big Brush.” Big Brush means a paintbrush that is three feet tall. “You roll out rice paper and do a dance while painting on it,” Lee explained. Also, swords are involved.
Lee is enjoying life in Seattle in the expected way. “I love the food,” she said. “I love seafood, Asian food, the vibe of the city. It’s a really cool place with a big Asian American community.” (end)