Thomas Ethelbert Skilling, III (born February 20, 1952), known on-air as Tom Skilling, is a popular meteorologist in Chicago, Illinois. He is chief meteorologist for the weekday 4, 5, 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts at national cable superstation WGN-TV (channel 9).
Skilling began his career in broadcasting at age 14, working for WKKD-AM & FM while attending school at West Aurora High School. At age 18, he began working at WLXT-TV (Ch. 60) in Aurora, Illinois. He attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison to study meteorology and journalism. While attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he worked at WKOW-TV and WTSO AM in Madison, Wisconsin. From 1975 to 1978, he worked as a meteorologist at WITI in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Skilling returned to the Chicago area and began working for WGN-TV Channel 9 in 1978. He is currently WGN's chief meteorologist and is rumored to be the highest paid local broadcast meteorologist in the United States. He also writes the daily weather column in the Chicago Tribune, whose corporate parent, the Tribune Company, owns WGN-TV. His weather broadcasts have always featured the latest technology in computer imagery and animation techniques. He has long been hailed for his in-depth reports and striking accuracy, perhaps best highlighted by his correctly predicting the Groundhog Day blizzard almost two weeks before it paralyzed the Chicago area. "Skillful", as his late WGN colleague Bob Collins called him, was consulted for the movie The Weather Man, which was set in Skilling's hometown of Chicago at a fictionalized version of WGN.
Skilling is under contract at WGN until 2022.
AMS and Fermilab
Skilling is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. He hosts annual tornado and severe weather seminars at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois. 2013 marked the 32nd year of the seminar and the first that featured presentations specifically on climate change.
In January 1995, Tom received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.
Tom is the older brother of Jeff Skilling, the discredited former CEO of Enron.