James Zahara

Meteorologist

James is the Chief Meteorologist for Storm Team 8 and does forecasts weekday mornings on Good Morning Quad Cities.

James knew he would be a meteorologist from the time he was 8 years old. His mother would often find him on the roof of their Flossmoor, Illinois home during approaching severe weather events. James received his inspiration to become a meteorologist when the Chief Meteorologist for WLS in Chicago and founder of the Weather Channel Cable Network - John Coleman visited his class in grade school. James has never forgotten the impression John Coleman made on him as a child and has continued the legacy of his mentor by visiting more than 100 schools over the last 18 years with WQAD.

James received his meteorology degree from the University of Kansas in 1988. He began his broadcast career in 1988 as Chief Meteorologist at WOAY, the ABC affiliate in Beckley, West Virginia. In 1990, James moved to Huntsville, Alabama where he became the weekday meteorologist at the NBC affiliate, WAFF, Channel 48. During his time in Huntsville, Alabama, James worked with then Chief Meteorologist Bob Baron, who is now President and CEO of Baron Services - maker of the Baron Storm Warning System.

James came to WQAD in August of 1992 as the weekday meteorologist. During his time at WQAD James has received meteorology seals from the American Meteorologist Society (1994) and the National Weather Association (2001). In July of 2007, James achieved his CBM. The Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) program, is given to meteorologists who have risen to a professional standard in broadcast meteorology and achieved a broader range of scientific understanding, especially with respect to environmental issues. The goal of the CBM program is to certify that the holder meets specific educational and experience criteria and has passed rigorous testing in their knowledge and communication of meteorology and related sciences.

James has also received several awards for his work on-air including the First Place award from the Illinois Associated Press - "Best Spot News" for coverage of the Fruitland Tornado in 2007. In 2008, he received first place in the Eric Sevareid Award for "Snow Desk". "Snow Desk" was the first and only news team featuring James and Jim Mertens broadcasting live from an outdoor news set during the first major snowstorm of 2008.

James is involved in several charities throughout the Quad Cities including Gilda's Club, Birdies for Charity, the Child Abuse Council, and the United Way. James and his family actively support the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, the Humane Society, ASPCA, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation.

James has been married to his lovely wife, Renee for more than thirteen years. They have one lovely daughter named Aviana who is an elite swimmer in the Midwest. James has run in the BIX each year and has run in six marathons. He has a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and enjoys golf.

Recent Articles

  • Winds Diminish; Pleasant Still

    Posted on: 5:31 am, April 17, 2014, by , updated on: 10:11am, April 17, 2014

    Temperatures these next couple of days will be a shade cooler before we blow in some much warmer air in...
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  • Warmer Winds On Your Wednesday

    Posted on: 5:06 am, April 16, 2014, by , updated on: 11:36am, April 16, 2014

    The chilly spring air of late takes a back seat for today as we try to push temperatures close to...
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  • Sunshine At Times; Still Chilly

    Posted on: 5:03 am, April 15, 2014, by , updated on: 11:32am, April 15, 2014

    Its a cold morning out there with the mercury in the 20s for many hometowns.  Highs pressure ridge will keep...
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  • Shower Possible Later Today

    Posted on: 5:24 am, April 10, 2014, by , updated on: 12:05pm, April 10, 2014

    Our string of 60 degree plus temperatures will stay intact for today as well as the next couple of days...
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  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Celestial Event On Tuesday

    Posted on: 7:25 am, April 9, 2014, by , updated on: 10:38pm, April 13, 2014

    Stargazers! Another celestial event is just days away! During the early morning hours of April 15th comes the first of...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: What Makes Thunder Louder

    Posted on: 9:05 am, April 3, 2014, by

    The showers and thunderstorms really packed a punch overnight, especially when it came with the thunder. My longtime friend, Bill...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Flyin’ High With Some Flying Geese

    Posted on: 8:17 am, April 1, 2014, by

    Yesterday’s fierce winds didn’t steer me away from my visit to Kewanee, Illinois and Wethersfield School.  Wow!  I was thrilled...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Fiery Dust Devil..Up Close and Personal

    Posted on: 8:45 am, March 26, 2014, by

    I was just wondering on the internet to see of any extreme weather happening across the country when I caught...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: I’ve Got The Scoop!

    Posted on: 2:22 pm, March 24, 2014, by

    How would like to satisfy your sugar craving and help share a passion for improving the health of babies at the...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Daylight Longer On The Equinox

    Posted on: 3:00 am, March 17, 2014, by

    With the first day of spring arriving this Thursday, the sun will be directly above the equator. This is what...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Tipping Myths On The First Day Of Spring

    Posted on: 10:01 pm, March 13, 2014, by

    We continue to countdown to the first day of spring, otherwise known as the vernal equinox, which is scheduled on...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • Winter Weather Advisory Tonight

    Posted on: 6:33 pm, March 1, 2014, by , updated on: 10:33pm, March 1, 2014

    Snow has spread across our entire area and will continue throughout the night before tapering before sunrise.  Everything appears to...
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