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 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 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
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  • “Siberian Express” to take shape in just days; jet stream crossing the North Pole into the Midwest to deliver brutally cold air by Friday; second blast due next Tue/Wed; snowy system possible inbetween

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  • Cold, then bitter cold to end the week

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  • What is the record for the greatest amount of snow ever to occur in one hour in Chicago?

    Dear Tom, What is the record for the greatest amount of snow ever to occur in one hour in Chicago? — Jimmy Youlinn, Chicago Dear Jimmy, The National Weather Service does not track that particular statistic, but we tapped the expertise of Chicago’s resident weather historian Frank Wachowski. He informs us that two noteworthy snow events yielded high-intensity snows. The huge snowstorm of Jan. 26-27, 1967 — the city’s largest snow event — produced a maximum snow rate of 2 […]

  • Bitter cold to follow snow

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  • Winter Weather Advisory issued for Tuesday

    A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the Chicago area for Tuesday. The advisory begins at 9 a.m and includes Cook, DeKalb, DuPage,  Grundy, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle and Lee counties. Snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice are expected creating potential for slippery roads. Limited visibilities could also be an issue. Updates at   Just In: Winter Weather Advisory posted by the NWS for Tuesday includes Chicago & most suburbs. A wintry mix on Tuesday is expected to […]

  • How could sleet happen at 16 degrees?

    Dear Tom, My sister in Boston told me it was 16 degrees and sleeting. How could sleet happen at such a low temp? Thanks, Shari Waterford, Wisconsin Dear Shari, Sleet and freezing rain can fall with very low surface temperatures. It’s the temperature profile in the layer from the clouds to the surface that determines what type of precipitation reaches the ground. Though sleet and freezing rain are quite different, the atmospheric conditions that produce them are identical: rain, originating […]

  • Has Chicago ever had a winter without a significant snow event?

    Dear Tom, Has Chicago ever had a winter without a significant snow event? — Judith Grace Campbell, Mokena Dear Judith, It has, and it occurred just about a century ago. The early 1920s marked a time of record-low snowfall in Chicago, with the city recording its two least snowy winters back-to-back. The winter of 1920-21 produced just 9.8 inches, followed by 11.5 inches in the winter of 1921-22. That two-season total of 21.3 inches has been exceeded by the city’s […]

  • Can you compare the 1967 “Big Snow” with the blizzard of 1979?

    Dear Tom, Can you compare the 1967 “Big Snow” with the blizzard of 1979? — Stephen Verhaeren, Palos Park Dear Stephen, The 23-inch Jan. 26-27, 1967, Big Snow is Chicago’s benchmark snowstorm. The snow began falling shortly before 5 a.m. on Jan. 26 and ended just before noon on Jan. 27. Strong northeast winds up to 53 mph created huge drifts, paralyzing the city for more than a week. The Jan. 12-14, 1979, blizzard produced 20.3 inches of snow and […]

  • What year did the wind chill factor and the heat index become part of the weather report?

    Dear Tom, What year did the wind chill factor and the heat index become part of the weather report? Thanks, Phil Richton Park Dear Phil, The heat index was introduced in the early 1980s, replacing the old temperature-humidity index (THI), which had been used for years. It is a single, “apparent temperature”–how hot the air feels at a given temperature and relative humidity. The wind chill index, which quantifies the combined effect of wind and temperature on human flesh, was […]