The Norman Transcript


October 27, 2013

Gary England can’t stop the rain, but he can start the parade



“No one would hire me,” he said.

He started a private weather service in Oklahoma City but then his wife got pregnant and it was “time to get a real job,” he said.

He worked as a oceanographer and meteorologist in New Orleans for a time, then took a job back in Oklahoma with KTOK radio.

England credits the mentorship of Bob Riggins for helping him make the breakthrough.

“I was stiff,” he said.

England said Riggins told him, “I’m going to teach you how to laugh on the air.”

They invented the 805-pound thunder lizard.

As England began to make weather come alive via radio, people called in and he gained experience interacting with the public.

Eventually the general manager of Channel 9 called England and said, “You sound a little crazy but I want to talk to you.”

Now, 41 years later, Oklahomans can’t imagine not having him on the air.

“Almost everybody feels like he’s family,” Boren said, noting that England has been, by virtue of home television, in everyone’s living room.

“Gary is a scientist,” Boren said. “He is extremely involved in and keeps up with the science. It’s been great having him here today.”

OU developed Doppler radar’s use with storm predictions. England is credited with being the first on-air meteorologist to use commercial Doppler weather radar to warn viewers of an impending tornado.

Boren said as a child growing up in Seminole, he remembers people watching the skies and someone in the town with a whistle as a warning, but his family had no storm shelter.

“It was watch the skies,” he said. “That was so inadequate.”

Now the level of accuracy as to the path of a tornado allows for much more advanced warnings and England has broadcast those warnings, saving countless lives.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Body 1 Police identify woman found dead Monday

    Norman police have identified a woman found dead in her home at 2202 Donna Drive Monday afternoon. Police responded at 1:25 p.m. to the residence of Cassandra Thompson, 30, after receiving a report that she had not shown up for work ...

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Residents speak out about document regarding shelter photos

    Norman and metro-area residents showed up in overwhelming numbers, many in red shirts, for an Animal Shelter Oversight Board meeting Monday night demanding for their opinions to be heard....

    July 29, 2014

  • Mixon’s attorney says athlete acted in self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense. “This past Friday morning, Joe Mixon found himself in a situation ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Cool snap brings heat relief to Oklahoma, Arkansas

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The dog days of summer are coming in with a whimper. Weather forecasters say a cold front headed for Oklahoma and Arkansas will bring unseasonably cool temperatures and a chance of rain through next week....

    July 29, 2014

  • Be ready for ‘prolonged’ Gaza war, prime minister says

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Signaling an escalation of Israel’s Gaza operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday to be ready for a “prolonged” war, and the military warned Palestinians in three large neighborhoods to ...

    July 29, 2014

  • FBI defends search for Oklahoma City bombing video

    SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were ...

    July 29, 2014

  • County moves forward on nursing home bonds

    Cleveland County commissioners on Monday approved a resolution authoring a county trust to issue up to $15 million for a nursing home on the site of the former Whispering Pines nursing home at 501 E. Robinson St....

    July 29, 2014

  • Deal to improve health care costs $17B

    WASHINGTON — A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Breast Care Center will relocate to HealthPlex

    The Norman Regional Health System will move its Breast Care Center to the HealthPlex campus, making it more accessible for patients, hospital officials said Monday. At its monthly board meeting, the Norman Regional Hospital Authority ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Little Axe Health Center hosting blood drive

    Norman-area blood donors this summer will not only save lives when they donate with Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), they’ll also get “Feel Cool” T-shirts and two tickets to the Oklahoma City Zoo....

    July 29, 2014