Father of Modern Agricultural Weather Forecasting
Peter Leavitt; 1931-2013
This week agricultural meteorology lost one its most influential figures. Peter Leavitt served our nation’s farmers for nearly all his 82 years. He was the chairman and CEO of Weather Services Corporation and in 1978 founded WSI Corporation now part of The Weather Channel.
Leavitt graduated from M.I.T. in the 1950’s with a degree in meteorology. In mid-1970’s he taught himself to program a computer (see photo) and did the original database work to create weather forecasting models. He founded WSI in 1978. It eventually spawned The Weather Channel. Leavitt hired Paul Bayer right out of college to help write the computer program. Bayer is a principal software engineer at WSI. You may listen to Todd Gleason’s interview with Bayer about Peter Leavitt’s legacy using the links on this page.
Leavitt volunteered his agricultural forecasting expertise to WILL radio in Urbana, Illinois every Thursday afternoon over parts of the last four decades.