Tom Skilling, WGN-TV chief meteorologist, appears weekdays on WGN Evening News from 5-7pm, WGN News at Nine and WGN News at Ten. He celebrates his 40th anniversary with WGN-TV in August 2018.

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, WI to study meteorology and journalism at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, 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 on to WKOW-TV (ABC affiliate) and WTSO radio in Madison, WI before 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. For over 30 years, Skilling was chief meteorologist on WGN Midday News as well as later newscasts. Tom Skilling has been awarded with three honorary doctorates from Lewis University, St. Mary’s of Minnesota and Aurora University.
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. 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. He has also received an immense response for weather blog.

Over the past 38 years, Tom Skilling hosted a Tornado and Severe Storms Seminar at Fermilab. As host of the event, Skilling welcomed the ‘who’s who’ in the severe weather research and forecast community, including famed University of Chicago tornado researcher Dr. Ted Fujita. The Fermilab programs have been attended by thousands over the years and have been streamed to even larger audiences online.

This year, Tom is speaking at numerous events throughout the Chicagoland area discussing climate change. So far this year he has hosted a talk to 200 area science teachers in Downers Grove, participated in a climate conference in Naperville, headed out to Palatine to address an Energy Expo sponsored by the Sierra Club, and has worked with the Mayor’s office several times. He emceed a conference of local mayors from across the Chicagoland community who are addressing climate change, as well as an awards event for mayors recognizing environment efforts in member cities (mayors and their representatives for the world’s 40 biggest cities which included the mayors of Paris and Mexico City and the Deputy Mayors of New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC). Finally, this June, Tom will be awarded the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) as their “2018 Broadcast Pioneer” honoree. From recording a podcast with Mayor Emmanuel about climate change to emceeing several events, Tom has maintained a very busy schedule.

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Recent Articles
  • Rain possible this weekend

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  • May 2018 ranks among warmest 9% on the books since 1871; some cooling ahead as “east” winds strengthen next 2 days-but overall “above normal” temp trend holds remainder of May; disturbance to introduce clouds/a few showers later Friday


  • A Hawaiian mountain gets 470 inches of rain a year. Why?

    Dear Tom, We recently returned from a trip to the Hawaiian Islands. On the island of Kauai, Mount Waialeale receives about 470 inches of rain a year. What causes such heavy rainfall? — The Barnovich family Dear Barnovich family, Mount Waialeale is the wettest location in the United States, with 472 inches of rain per year. Such massive rains occur in mountainous locations situated such that prevailing winds force warm, moist air far upward. As air ascends, it cools — […]

  • Warm, mostly sunny weather continues

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  • What present do I get for someone who loves weather?

    Dear Tom, My boyfriend is a huge weather enthusiast. What present do I get for someone who loves weather so much? — Izzy Ramirez, Chicago Dear Izzy, There are a multitude of gifts that you can get for people in love with the weather. There are numerous weather instruments available that provide continuous readings of barometric pressure, temperature, humidity and dew point, rainfall and wind. Many are wireless and have Wi-Fi connections, allowing the monitoring of home weather conditions anywhere […]

  • Mostly sunny skies, warmer temps return

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  • Has Chicago ever reached 100 degrees in May?

    Dear Tom, Has Chicago ever reached 100 degrees in May? Thanks, Rebecca S. Lindenhurst Dear Rebecca, Not officially. Based on official site records, Chicago’s temperature has never reached 100 degrees in May; the month’s highest reading being 98 on May 31, 1934. But, it did reach triple digits the next day when the mercury soared to 102 on June 1. In 1934, however, the official thermometer was on campus at the University of Chicago, close to the cooling breezes of […]

  • What is a 20-foot wind?

    Dear Tom, In the recent episodes of red flag warnings issued by the National Weather Service there was a term: “20 ft. winds.” What does that mean? — Laura M., Plainfield Dear Laura, We checked with Mark Ratzer, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service forecast office in Romeoville, and he shed some light on the subject. Ratzer informed us that 20-foot winds are the sustained winds averaged over a 10-minute period at a height of 20 feet above the […]

  • Dust devils–atmospheric whirlwinds that resemble small tornadoes

    Dear Tom, Last month, on a clear, calm afternoon, I looked outside and saw a tornadic effect. Leaves were airborne, blowing in a circular motion, and this huge swirl crossed my neighbor’s driveway, filling it with dust. What was that? — Chris Robbins, Villa Park Dear Chris, You were eyewitness to a dust devil, an atmospheric whirlwind that resembles a small tornado but is formed by completely different mechanisms not associated with thunderstorms. Rotating either clockwise or counterclockwise, dust devils […]

  • Why does it seem the Chicago area rain occurs more frequently on Saturday and Sunday?

    Dear Tom, It has been my observation that here in the Chicago area rain occurs more frequently on Saturday and Sunday than on weekdays. Can you comment on why this is so? Alicia Middlebrook, Lyons Dear Alicia, Your question comes up occasionally, but the answer is that precipitation (rain or snow) does not fall more frequently on Saturday or Sunday than on other days of the week. The atmosphere does not operate on the “work-week” cycle, even though most of […]