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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
  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Cold Air Funnels Possible Today

    If you noticed in my local forecast, scattered showers are expected today, but with a twist.  With the right ingredients in place, a couple of cold air funnels may occur. So what are cold air funnels? They form beneath showers when the air aloft is especially cold. These funnels occur when the air near the surface is warm enough to lift, causing convection to bubble up and form showers. These conditions are even ripe enough to produce some pea-size hail, […]

  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Celestial Event On Tuesday

    Stargazers! Another celestial event is just days away! During the early morning hours of April 15th comes the first of two lunar eclipses this year to pass through our skies. While lunar eclipses may not be as impressive as a solar eclipse, they’re still pretty cool. Here’s the breakdown: The celestial shadow starts just after 12:58 am on Tuesday.  The moon will begin to pass through the penumbra, the part of Earth’s shadow where the sun is only partially blocked […]

  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF: What Makes Thunder Louder

    The showers and thunderstorms really packed a punch overnight, especially when it came with the thunder. My longtime friend, Bill Michaels from 97X called me this morning about the number of calls he received from his listeners of the thunder being louder and longer than expected. I do remember those moments when I was a kid but never took the liberty to find out why.  So, I made sure I was able to find that answer for him as well […]

  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Flyin’ High With Some Flying Geese

    Yesterday’s fierce winds didn’t steer me away from my visit to Kewanee, Illinois and Wethersfield School.  Wow!  I was thrilled to return after a couple of years from my last visit. I had the honor to chat with over one hundred 1st and 2nd Graders, and did they have some awesome questions.  The funniest question of the day was ‘what do you, Jim and Julie do during commercial breaks on Good Morning Quad Cities?’  Hmmm.  I basically said, ‘ I […]

  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Fiery Dust Devil..Up Close and Personal

    I was just wondering on the internet to see of any extreme weather happening across the country when I caught a glimpse of this .  WOW!!   Hundreds of tumble weeds caught up in this fiery dust devil, without the dust.  This started off as a controlled burn before it got a bit out of hand.  Talk about up close and personal.  Check it out!! Intense heat from the fire combined with just enough shearing wind and you can develop […]

  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF: I’ve Got The Scoop!

    How would like to satisfy your sugar craving and help share a passion for improving the health of babies at the same time?  You can!  Its the Celebrity Scoop night at Maggie Moo’s in Davenport on Tuesday night from 5 to 8 pm.  We will once again be helping to raise money for Sasha’s March of Dimes Walk Team.   Chris Minor and myself will be one of the number of participants that will get the fun part of magically creating the […]

  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Daylight Longer On The Equinox

    With the first day of spring arriving this Thursday, the sun will be directly above the equator. This is what we call the spring equinox. In September, the sun is again above the equator at the autumnal equinox, which takes place on September 22nd. Now, you have probably learned from way back that day and night are equal length on the spring and fall equinox. However, that is not the case, which may be a surprise to many.   In […]

  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Tipping Myths On The First Day Of Spring

    We continue to countdown to the first day of spring, otherwise known as the vernal equinox, which is scheduled on March 20th.  The equinox is defined by astronomers as “equal night”.  What’s astronomically special about the vernal equinox is that on that day the axis of the earth lines up with the axis of the sun, making the length of our day and night just about equal.  There are two times annually when day and night are essentially more-or-less equal […]

  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Another Snow Record To Watch

    Its been a banner season for snow lovers out there and Monday’s snowfall was indicative of that.  What was interesting is that the 5.9 inches of snow that officially fell at the Quad Cities airport was the highest snowfall from one storm so far this winter season.  What has made this season so unique has been the constant barrage of disturbances that have been racing across Iowa and Illinois.  Most have been Clippers, where a few have been originating out […]

  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    Hail To The Chief: We’ll Miss You Uncle Larry

    This was a bummer to hear about.  I learned that Larry Lujack, legendary “Superjock,” from Chicago, a Radio Hall of Famer and one of broadcasting’s all-time originals, has died of cancer at 73 on December 18.  An entire generation grew up listening to him , as did I. Every morning, I would enjoy a hardy breakfast with my family and at the same time listen to the news and of course, the weather on WLS Radio.  But, there was a segment […]

  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Just A Cold Breath Away

    Do you ever wonder while being outside during these cold winter days that you can suddenly see your own breath?  When I was a kid, me and my friends would pretend to be these cloud-breathing dragons like Godzilla, a very popular science-fiction character back in my days.  So, why is it that you can see your breath when it’s cold outside but not the case when it’s warm or hot?  Believe it or not, there’s certainly isn’t anything magical about […]

  • James Zahara Weather Blog

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Final Meteor Shower Of The Year

    To all Sky Gazers out there.  We all can agree that Comet ISON’s final frontier came as a disappointment when it simply dissolved while passing around the Sun.  However, this doesn’t close the book on this year’s galactic events. We’re gearing up for the peak of this year’s annual Geminid meteor shower on the night of 13th and 14th of December.  The Geminids will radiate from the constellation Gemini, which promises a peak rate between 100-120 meteors per hour between […]

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