Innovative broadcast meteorologist Roy Leep has passed away at the age of 88. Leep helped launch many components of what’s considered part of a typical television weather broadcast today.
Before graduating from Florida State University in 1957, where he would broadcast weather forecasts from the school’s radio station, Leep was offered a job to join station meteorologist Charlie Stump at Tampa Bay’s WTVT. In 1959, Leep assumed the Chief Meteorologist role at the television station and pioneered new technology on TV. One first is now a fixture at many TV stations: installing their own weather RADAR system. The WTVT weather RADAR was the first in Florida and remained as the only TV weather RADAR system in the Sunshine State for 10 years.
Leep also became one of the first meteorologists to earn an American Meteorological broadcast seal, earning seal #10.
In the 1960s, Leep incorporated black and white satellite imagery into his broadcasts. When the first GOES weather satellites came on-line in the 1970’s, Leep was among the first to incorporate those satellite photographs into his television broadcasts.
After 40 years on the air in Tampa, Leep retired in 1997.
Roy started at WTVT in 1957. Before I was born. We’ve only had three chief meteorologists since the station first went on the air in 1955, and only two chief meteorologists in the past sixty two years. Me and Roy. I had some big shoes to fill. #RIPRoy. pic.twitter.com/J44sHLxxNk
— Paul Dellegatto⚡️FOX (@PaulFox13) June 1, 2021
After retiring in 1997, WTVT re-named the television weather center after Leep in his honor “for 40 years of outstanding service to WTVT and the people of Tampa Bay.”
Even after retiring, Leep couldn’t step completely away from the world of weather. He created his own at-home weather station and shared forecasts with his neighbors at the University Village condo retirement community. His updates there were shared on the in-house television network and through his social media presence.
Leep is survived by his second wife Jane Leep, whom he married in 1996.