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WZZM’s George Lessens Receives Prestigious Charles L. Mitchell Award

February 2, 2024

George Lessens

This past Wednesday (1/31), WZZM-TV (Grand Rapids) Chief Meteorologist George Lessens joined the ranks of distinguished recipients of the Charles L. Mitchell Award for Outstanding Service by a Forecaster from the American Meteorological Society.

The Charles L. Mitchell Award for Outstanding Service by a Forecaster is a prestigious honor that recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the field. The American Meteorological Society presents these awards to recognize an “outstanding broadcast career marked by passion and precision, inspiring confidence among television viewers, and impacting the community with a lifetime of service.”

“It is great to see George being recognized on a national level for the service we all see him provide every day,” said Dan Baylog, President and General Manager of WZZM-TV.

Lessens has devoted his career to providing forecasts for television, radio, and print, advising people when severe weather threatens, whether it is safe to take the boat out on Lake Michigan, when farmers should plant their crops, and whether Michigan is going to serve-up a well-deserved, picture-perfect day. But George’s commitment goes well beyond his forecasts. He’s participated in research that brought a greater understanding of the use of satellite imagery to learn about thunderstorm initiation. He’s taught meteorology on the college level and mentored meteorology students.

Lessens has trained a legion of amateur “weather watchers” to be his eyes and ears in the furthest reaches of our viewing area. Since earning the treasured AMS Seal, George has served on the AMS Board of Broadcast Meteorology. As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador for more than a decade, George worked alongside NOAA to better prepare our nation for extreme weather, water, and climate events. He even changed the color palette on the station's weather maps to better serve people who experience color-blindness. Lessens has honored the history and traditions of his profession, served the current needs of viewers and enriched the future of his industry by teaching and training future meteorologists.

Lessens is a thirteen-time MAB Weathercast Award Winner, a two-time EMMY® Award Winner, a NATAS® Silver Circle Award Winner, and now recipient of the Charles L. Mitchell Award.

“The awards are a great honor,” said George. “But the biggest reward has been serving the people of West Michigan. I appreciate them giving me their trust and relying on me and our team to stay informed and safe.”

The AMS presented the award to George at the 104th AMS Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

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