Ask cranky Tom Skilling 'why'

November 30, 2011

Typically, WGN’s chief meteorologist Tom Skilling addresses reader questions with his famous cheery aplomb, but thanks to our newly-acquired mind-reading powers, we learn what he’s really thinking as he takes on weather-related queries.*


 

 


Dear Tom: What is Honolulu's annual precipitation? --Jimmy in Downers Grove
Hi Jimmy. I’m going to level with you: I’m not having a great day (I always get like this when the dewpoint really gets low) and I'm not really in the mood to take on questions like this that have nothing to do with Chicago. So, honestly, I don’t know. Three inches? Thirty inches? Something like that. Next question.

Dear Tom: I remember a snowfall on March 31-April 1, 1975. Can you fill me in on the details? --Marie in Glenview
Like what, exactly, Marie? What you were wearing? What were the top grossing movies of the time?  This sounds like you’re asking me to help you relive the past. I am a meteorologist, not some sort of repressed memory psychologist. It snowed, okay? It snowed and it was white and it was on the ground and it was cold and then it went away.

Dear Tom: Now that it's April, can I safely assume we will see no more snow until next winter? --Helen in Evanston
Helen, do you live in Chicago? Have you lived here for more than five minutes? Your only excuse for asking such a ridiculous question is that you’ve only just moved here and haven’t thought to ask any other less-busy people about this.  The answer is no. It's going to snow for forever.

Dear Tom: Is it true that temperatures in excess of 100 degrees and fierce southerly winds preceded the 1871 Chicago Fire? --Keith in Lakeview
Keith, I'm going to give you some advice.  What you need is a girlfriend, and not an obsession with this “historical weather” nonsense. No one is impressed by this type of thing.. And I do know the answer, but I’m not going to tell you.

Dear Tom: What’s Honolulu’s average annual temperature? --Jimmy in Downers Grove
You again with your Honolulu. Were all the Hawaiian meteorologists busy today or something? Leave me alone.

Dear Tom: What are the odds of me going outside randomly and getting wet? --Linda in Hyde Park
Linda, the odds are 100%, because now I know where you live and I will be waiting outside with a hose.

Dear Tom: What cities in the U.S. lie close to the same latitude as Santorini, Greece? --Owen in Springfield
OK, this isn’t funny anymore. Have people been giving out my email address as a joke? Do I look like the face of Wikipedia? You’re not even trying to make this question about weather. Here’s a question for you: are you proud of yourself for bothering a tired and irritable meteorologist with irrelevant questions? Are you?

Dear Tom: When you see the weather report and it says "partly cloudy" and then the next day it says "partly sunny"; what’s the difference? --Moe in Lake Charles
I bet you think you’re quite clever for asking this question, don’t you? Clever little question-asker. What would you do if I told you that the difference between “partly cloudy” and “partly sunny” is actually a matter of life or death? You’d wonder if I was asking a real question, or just trying to be funny. Either way, it’s not so pleasant, is it?

Dear Tom: Where were Chicago weather observation taken 75-100 years ago? --Richard in Lincolnshire
This is actually a good question, Richard, but unfortunately, all the shenanigans from the other readers have made me unwilling to answer anything else seriously today. Don’t blame me: blame your friends who thought it would be so cute to write in about Honolulu and Santorini and send in trick questions.

Dear Tom: I’m getting married next weekend. Will it rain on my wedding day? --Lisa in Lincoln Square
Lisa, the more important question is: somebody’s marrying you?

Dear Tom: What’s your favorite weather condition?  --Julio in the Loop
Cloudy with a chance of shut the hell up.

Dear Tom: Has it ever snowed in Honolulu? --Jimmy in Downers Grove
Dear Jimmy: I’m going to punch you in the face.

Dear Tom: What is hoarfrost? --Hank in Aurora
The answer is: Your mom.

 

*Just to be clear, this is but a loving homage to Chicago's favorite meteorologist.

PS: The submissions of the Cleatus the FOX Sports Robot are rolling in. Don't forget to submit yours by next Monday! (You don't really have to watch football to join in.)