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: Heads Up! Meteor Shower On The Way!

    Posted on: 7:23 am, October 7, 2013, by , updated on: 10:45am, October 7, 2013

    The Draconid meteor shower will sweep across our skies just after sunset Monday, October 7, 2013.
    Read More ›

    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Close Encounter With A Waterspout

    Posted on: 8:08 am, September 30, 2013, by

    We’ve haven’t seen much storm chasing video of late, until I got a glimpse of some ridiculously crazy video from...
    Read More ›

    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: More Signs Of Our Winter Season

    Posted on: 9:53 am, September 23, 2013, by

    Even though forecasting this winter season is speculative at best, it has gotten to a point where it is possible...
    Read More ›

    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Snowfall? Its All About The Track.

    Posted on: 5:25 am, September 17, 2013, by

    We may be months away but most are already curious when that first inch of snow will arrive.  If so,...
    Read More ›

    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Rain..Hard To Come By This Week

    Posted on: 12:13 pm, September 9, 2013, by

    Rain has been hard to come by in a good month and its quite obvious that the timing couldn’t be...
    Read More ›

    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Signs Of Winter Coming

    Posted on: 7:07 pm, September 5, 2013, by

    It may still be warm outside but the look and feel of autumn will be here before you know it,...
    Read More ›

    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Autumn Is Here… Meteorologically Speaking

    Posted on: 5:53 am, September 2, 2013, by , updated on: 01:34pm, September 2, 2013

    Meteorological Autumn has arrived!  That’s right!  Autumn.  Its a term that is deeply overshadowed by what we see on the...
    Read More ›

    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: The Silent Weather Killer

    Posted on: 1:00 pm, August 26, 2013, by

    When our environment gets too hot and humid like we’re expected to feel this week, it’s harder for our body...
    Read More ›

    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • Surging Heat Approaches

    Posted on: 11:09 pm, August 24, 2013, by , updated on: 01:47pm, August 25, 2013

    Saturday’s comfortable summer temperatures and humidity will feel a bit toastier in the days ahead.  The periphery of this excessive...
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    heat2 - MGN
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: A View To Remember

    Posted on: 8:55 am, August 23, 2013, by

    On August 23, 1966, the Lunar Orbiter 1 takes a photo and gave us an eye-opening perspective of exactly how...
    Read More ›

    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • HAIL TO THE CHIEF: The Scoop Behind The Brain Freeze

    Posted on: 9:37 am, August 19, 2013, by

    As the summer heat grows this week, so does the growing love for ice cream.  Whether it comes on a...
    Read More ›

    James Zahara Weather Blog
  • Hail To The Chief: Why are some trees losing their leaves?

    Posted on: 10:33 am, August 15, 2013, by

    Great question! In fact, I’ve had several calls on this in just the past couple of weeks. Here’s likely why....
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    James Zahara Weather Blog