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

  • 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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  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Another Snow Record To Watch

    Posted on: 2:16 pm, February 18, 2014, by

    Its been a banner season for snow lovers out there and Monday’s snowfall was indicative of that.  What was interesting...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Just A Cold Breath Away

    Posted on: 6:28 am, December 16, 2013, by

    Do you ever wonder while being outside during these cold winter days that you can suddenly see your own breath? ...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Final Meteor Shower Of The Year

    Posted on: 7:15 am, December 11, 2013, by

    To all Sky Gazers out there.  We all can agree that Comet ISON’s final frontier came as a disappointment when...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: ISON’s Galaxy Ride Might Have Ended

    Posted on: 6:53 am, November 29, 2013, by

    Sad news for star gazers around the world.  Comet ISON appears to have flown too close to the sun and...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Rare Tornado Outbreak Explained

    Posted on: 6:18 am, November 18, 2013, by , updated on: 08:45am, November 18, 2013

    About half of the 80 tornadoes that struck the Midwest on Sunday, November 17, 2013 were reported in Illinois.
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: High Flying With Fillmore

    Posted on: 9:11 am, November 12, 2013, by

    What a great visit!!  A big thank you to the wonderful kindergartners of Fillmore Elementary in Davenport.  Weather safety is...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: A Chat With Some Proud Eagles

    Posted on: 6:35 am, November 8, 2013, by

    What a great visit I had with the kindergartners of Eisenhower Elementary in Davenport.  Proud eaglets and very well behaved...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Local Stargazers found ISON!

    Posted on: 11:20 am, November 6, 2013, by

    Great to hear from Alan and Sara Sheidler!  They are part of a special group of die hard stargazers called...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Update on Comet ISON

    Posted on: 10:44 am, October 30, 2013, by

    Stargazers!  I am keeping an eye on our latest comet that is already being monitored by a few high tech...
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    James Zahara Weather Blog