Tom Skilling
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Tom Skilling, WGN-TV chief meteorologist, appears weekdays on WGN Midday News, WGN Evening News and WGN News at Nine. He celebrated his 35th anniversary with WGN-TV in August 2013.

Starting his successful career at the unheard-of age of 14, Tom was hired by WKKD in Aurora, IL while attending West Aurora High School.

He joined WLXT-TV three years later, while going to school during the day. In 1970, Tom moved to Madison, Wis., to study meteorology and journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, while continuing to work in radio and television. Tom’s first television job was at age 18 in Aurora, IL at WLXT-Channel 60. Then came WKOW-TV (ABC affiliate) and WTSO radio in Madison, WI before to going to work for WITI-TV, Milwaukee from 1975-1978, where he was rated the city’s #1 meteorologist.

Tom joined WGN-TV on August 13, 1978. Since then, he has established himself as a respected meteorologist both locally and nationally, known for his in-depth reports, enthusiasm, and use of state-of-the-art technology.

In early 2004, Tom helped coordinate the Tribune Weather Center, which combines the meteorology resources and expertise of WGN-TV, CLTV and The Chicago Tribune in one location. The weather center includes the installation of a state-of-the-art computer graphics system that enables Tom and his team to track details of weather across Chicagoland. He has also received an immense response for his weather blog.

Since 1997, Skilling has been a driving force behind the Chicago Tribune’s weather page. Another element in the column is “Ask Tom Why,” in which Tom takes viewers questions and answers the “why” behind the weather. In October 2008, Tom and the Weather Center started providing weather reports to WGN Radio.

In addition to his work on TV, radio and in print, Tom has created many weather specials over the years which have included: "Ten Inches of Partly Sunny," "Chasing the Wind," "Hurricane: The Greatest Storm on Earth,” "Alaska: Where Winters Are Really Winters,” and “A Winter Weathercast” to name a few.

Tom’s award winning tornado documentary "It Sounded Like a Freight Train," and "When Lightning Strikes," informing the causes and effects of lightning, were widely distributed for use in educational and public awareness efforts. He also received an Emmy nomination for his work on “Tsunamis on American Shores program,” which looked at the deadly tsunamis that have hit Alaska.

Tom’s documentary work has also received praise that includes Emmy award winning “The Sears Tower Versus Mother Nature.” He has received honors for the IBA Best Weather Show in 2004, as well as the 2003, 2004, 2008 Silver Dome Award for Best Television Weathercast. WGN-TV also received the environmental reporting award from the Audubon Society, an accomplishment that is due to Tom’s performance.

Called “a weatherman’s weatherman” by many in the field, the National Weather Service has honored Tom for holding free tornado and severe weather seminars each spring at the Fermilab National Accelerator complex in Batavia. Open to people of all ages, the seminar was created over 35 years ago to educate people about the dynamics and after effects of severe weather. Thousands of attendees gather to see hundreds of this country's leading experts in twisters, severe and damaging thunderstorms, and lightning discussed at this exciting event.

Skilling is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the National Weather Association and Sigma Chi. The American Meteorology Society (AMS) named Tom as recipient of the 1997 Award for Outstanding Service by a Broadcast Meteorologist. He serves on the AMS nominating committee and holds the AMS’s Television Seal of Approval. In January of 1995, Tom received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.

Recent Articles
  • damage1

    At least 1 dead, several injured in Thursday’s tornadoes

    ROCHELLE, Ill. — Authorities say one person is dead and seven injured in a northern Illinois community hit by a severe storm that produced at least one tornado. The Illinois Department of Emergency Management says one person was killed in the tiny community of Fairdale. Rockford Fire Department division chief Matthew Knott tells ABC7-TV that seven people were injured. Knott says “every single” one of the approximately 50 structures in Fairdale has been damaged. He says “most” have been flattened. […]

  • Rains tonight, severe storms possible Thursday

    CHICAGO –Rain is moving through Chicagoland and a dense fog advisory has been issued for Cook and Lake County Illinois through tonight. Areas of dense fog are expected near the lake and potentially developing inland. Low visibility and hazardous travel conditions are also expected. The advisory expires at 9 a.m. tomorrow. And that’s when things could already be more interesting. Just under dime sized hail at 10:50PM here on Chicago's NW side at @WGNNews & @CLTVnews. — Mike Hamernik […]

  • Stormy end to the week but a mild weekend possible

    Updates at Chicago Weather Center

  • Remembering the Palm Sunday tornadoes, 50 years later

    ELKHART, Ind. — 50 years ago this weekend, April 11 and 12, killer tornadoes raced across America’s Heartland claiming hundreds of lives and creating mass destruction. Tom Skilling’s team tracked down survivors of the Palm Sunday Tornadoes to learn firsthand the stories behind two iconic photographs, from Illinois and Indiana. Greg and Betty Huffman are the eldest son and wife of newspaper photographer Paul Huffman. On Palm Sunday, 1965, Paul and Betty had dropped off their youngest son at church and […]

  • Back-to-back days of 60 degrees

    Updates at Chicago Weather Center

  • Tom Skilling closes out Fermilab 2015

    WGN-TV chief meteorologist Tom Skilling provides powerful closing remarks, and thanks his distinguished guests and audience at the 2015 Fermilab Tornado and Severe Storms seminar.

  • Ed Fenelon, National Weather Service area manager, on deadly Palm Sunday tornado outbreak

    Ed Fenelon of the National Weather Service joins Fermilab 2015 to talk about the 50th anniversary of one of this area and the country’s most devastating tornado sieges: The deadly Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of 1965.

  • Warning coordination meteorologist Brian Smith

    Warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service-Omaha, Nebraska, Brian Smith, speaks at Fermilab 2015.

  • Dr. Donald J. Wuebbles on severe weather in changing climate

    Dr. Donald J. Wuebbles, Harry E. Preble professor of atmospheric sciences at the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, discusses severe weather in a changing climate.

  • Prof. Steven Ackerman on satellites’ revolutionary role in meteorology

    Dr. Steven Ackerman, director of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) and professor of meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison discusses the indispensable role of weather satellites in observing and forecasting the weather–including severe weather–and the satellite’s role in monitoring climate change.


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