Chicago man launches crusade to demote Tom Skilling from meteorologist to "weather guesser"

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Is this the face of evil?
  • wgntv.com
  • Is this the face of evil?
It's not an enviable task to be a weatherman in Chicago, particularly in the spring when "predicting" the weather amounts to a guessing game. Most of us simply gird our loins and pack an umbrella and maybe an extra sweater.

But Cesar Ruelase is not most of us. He is a man of action! He has identified the chief perpetrator of Chicago weather mythology, enumerated his crimes, created a series of infographics to illustrate them, and launched a petition to demote him from "meteorologist" to "weather guesser." He has, he says, devoted his life to this noble cause.

And who is this evil man who Ruelase describes as "a monster who seems intent on ruining our picnic plans, barbecues, and wedding photos with his inaccurate forecasts"?

Why, it's WGN's Tom Skilling!

Why Skilling? He seems so kind and affable on the nine o'clock news, the sort of guy you'd trust to tell you the weather. Well, as much as you'd trust a TV weatherman. But that is precisely Ruelase's point.

How_Wrong_Is_Skilling.jpg
  • Cesar Ruelase
"The reason I focused on Skilling is, people trust him even though they obviously shouldn't," Ruelase writes in an e-mail. "Other TV meteorologists don't get any respect. I don't even think Mrs. Baskerville listens to Steve Baskerville."

Ruelase was spurred to action when he caught wind of a new WGN ad campaign which asks, "What did Skilling say?"

"The answer of course is that it doesn't matter what Skilling said," Ruelase argues. "He's usually wrong."

By Ruelase's calculations, Skilling has been off by 287 degrees this spring. He arrived at this figure by comparing Skilling's forecast to the actual temperature every day in April and tallying the differences. As Ruelase reminds us, a human being can die at 107 degrees. (It's not quite clear how this fits in with Skilling's inaccuracies, but if you believe in Ruelase's crusade, just go along with it.)

Ruelase doesn't plan to use any other criteria to quantify Skilling's inaccuracies, mostly because there isn't any. Skilling only gives precise details when it comes to temperature, not rainfall or other meteorological phenomena.

Does Ruelase expect any further punishment for Skilling besides a change of title?

"I don't expect to get Skilling off the air," Ruelase writes. "But it would be nice if he portrayed the weather as the unpredictable beast it is. If he said, 'I don't know guys, I think it's going to be pretty chilly tomorrow. Maybe mid-40s-ish, I think. . .' I'd trust that guy. And I'd know to bring a coat."

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