Celebrating 60 years of the Weather Outside

Posted at 7:11 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 19:11:33-05

The Weather Outside turns 60 this year. The uniquely Western New York way of watching the weather began back in the 1950s as WKBW signed on the air during a snowstorm.

The one man who has weathered more changes on the Weather Outside than anyone else is that of Tom Jolls.

For over 30 years, Tom brought his flair for forecasting from the Weather Set to TV sets throughout Western New York, instantly transforming the way they watched the weather.

Early on, the Weather Outside was only a mailbox and chalkboard at the original Main Street studio... and of course those Weather Words!

"I had all these different weather words and I'd hang them on the hook and that would be the word for the next day,” said Jolls.

Upon moving into the shiny silver studios at 7 Broadcast Plaza, the Weather Outside became Buffalo's favorite backdrop for the forecast.

The Weather Outside set evolved over the years, gaining a gazebo, a green screen and of course, digital doppler radar.

"That was a big step forward... kinda like wow we've come a long way... we went from blackboard and chalk, to chroma key it was like magic to us!"

Tom and the four season weather set shared some of the best summer sunsets in style but also survived the worst winter weather ever to blow through downtown Buffalo.

"Anytime we had a storm it was great for making hay as they say," said Jolls. "I think there was a binding effect to the weather and people would be shoveling people out and doing drive ways and sidewalks I think weather is a binding factor in bringing people together."

And after all those years outside Tom still has a pretty good opinion of weather in Western New York.

“Summers couldn't be better, fall couldn't be better and spring we're never quite sure if we go from winter to summer but, it's nice to think about it.”

It was Tom's talent to transform the forecast into everyday words and meaningful images that made ‘The Weather Outside’ must see TV, but his wardrobe didn't hurt either often displaying an array of winter regalia fit for fashion week, not just the nightly news.


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