Of all the things I love about Chicago and the list is long, my favorite is the weather. Really, what's not to love about Chicago weather? It's always changing, fun to forecast and exciting. It's perfect...even the winter. Those of you that have followed my Chicago forecasts since 2000 know it's a passion I enjoy sharing with everyone.
As a certified meteorologist I am one of a handful of women in the nation and one of only a few meteorologists in Chicago that holds both the prestigious AMS/CBM Certified Broadcast Meteorology Seal of Approval, which is the highest seal awarded by the AMS, and the NWA Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
I was also honored to be chosen the first female chairman of the National AMS Board of Meteorology and have served on the National Boards of Broadcast Meteorology for both the AMS and the NWA and acted as an evaluator for new Seal applicants. On the local level I am serving on the boards of Chicago SAG/AFTRA and the Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Here at Fox Chicago I have acted as both the morning and noon meteorologist and the weekend and noon meteorologist. Previously, I worked across town at NBC5 Chicago where I handled all of the weekend weather duties. During my career I was also the first female Chief Meteorologist in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. where I spent several years forecasting tropical weather for WTSP-CBS. Earlier I worked in Milwaukee at WDJT-CBS where I was promoted to Chief Meteorologist and was chosen "Best On-Air Personality." My start came in Chico, Calif., at KHSL-CBS as the morning and noon meteorologist.
My college background includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Environmental Science from San Diego State University, undergraduate studies through Mississippi State University, graduate studies at U.C.S.D. and a Broadcast Meteorology Certification from Mississippi State University. I am working toward my Masters Degree.
I've been honored with 15 Emmy nominations and 5 Awards for Best Weathercast, Best Science Report and Live Reporting. Plus, a first place award from the Associated Press for a report on Shipwreck Diving in Lake Michigan which was done underwater on a 125-year-old Shipwreck. The National Association of Black Journalists has also recognized me with a national nomination for a story about Fugitive Slave Ships on Lake Michigan.
A side shoot of my fascination with weather and science has led to a string of special reports, including: Storm Chasing, Climate Change, Storm Phobia, Nuclear Power, World War II Planes, NASCAR driving, Stadium Weather Safety, Hurricane Evacuation Zones, Haunted Cemeteries, a Natural Disaster Lab that destroys homes in the name of science and a 10-part series of reports about Lake Michigan. Notable weather stories include the blizzards of 1999 and 2011, the deadly 2004 Utica tornado, the 2012 Harrisburg tornado and the devastating 2003 and 2007 Wildfires in San Diego where my family lost several homes. They will always be appreciative for the outpouring of prayers and well wishes from everyone in Chicago.
Being married to a teacher I understand the importance of nurturing young minds. Showing children and young adults how weather and science can be both interesting and fun is a top priority. I've enjoyed visiting over 600 Chicago area schools. I've also given presentations to adult storm spotter classes and written weather factoid columns for several newspapers.
So, where did this interest in weather originate? As a child my grandfather would take me flying in a small plane. The excitement of soaring through the sky led to questions about why clouds form, what causes storms and where wind comes from. Ultimately that curiosity has been transformed in to a career as a meteorologist and a love of flying.
That passion seems to run in my family. My sister Patty is also a broadcast meteorologist. My brother Matt is a pilot for Fed-Ex. My dad even worked as a design engineer on the Saturn Boosters for the Apollo Space Program. Here's a fun fact, years ago I was a contestant on The Price Is Right. I won camping gear and a car. Talk about crazy luck.
My husband Greg and I make our home in the western suburbs with our young son Caleb who has coined some humorous weather terms, which I periodically share on air. Spare time and hobbies are mainly spent outdoors running, snow skiing, water skiing, scuba diving, gardening, gourmet cooking, flying, hiking, boating, fishing and never ending remodeling projects on our home. Environmental issues are also very near and dear to my heart.
I consider all of you friends and partners in creating the most accurate overview of what's happening in our area with storm reports, pictures and community events. Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions and comments. You can also follow my daily forecasts, severe weather updates, environmental facts, recipes, and quirky thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.