In honor of Chicago meteorologist Tom Skilling's 38 years of educating the public on weather activity in the Chicago region, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Board of Commissioners presented Skilling with a resolution.
"Anyone who has grown up or worked in the Chicago region and tuned into WGN or the Chicago Tribune for a weather forecast appreciates the value Tom Skilling provides to our daily lives," said MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos.
Commissioner Cynthia Santos added: "Because of his intelligent, well-researched and endearing forecasts, many of us Chicagoans have turned to him and benefited from his knowledge. It's that wisdom we at the MWRD try to impart each day when preparing to provide around-the-clock flood control and protection of Cook County's waterways."
Skilling has established himself as a respected meteorologist both locally and nationally. He is known for his in-depth reports, enthusiasm and use of state-of-the-art technology. He has delivered reports for the WGN Midday News, WGN Evening News, WGN News at Nine, the WGN News at Ten and WGN Radio 720.
Since 1997, he has written a popular column, "Ask Tom Why," for the Chicago Tribune's weather page, in which he takes and answers viewers' questions. Since 2004, he has coordinated the Tribune Weather Center, which combines the meteorology resources and expertise of WGN-TV, CLTV and the Chicago Tribune in one location and includes the installation of a computer graphics system that enables him and his team to track details of weather across the Chicago area.
In accepting the resolution before the MWRD Board of Commissioners, Skilling discussed the importance of communicating to the public the serious nature of changing weather patterns.
"The MWRD is on the forefront of many climate change issues in managing our water resources," said Skilling. "Given the increasing frequency of extreme rain events and this being a challenging region in terms of flooding, they understand the changing climate, and I am happy to provide forecasts to help them and others at home prepare for their daily weather outlook. I look forward to continuing this reporting and thank the MWRD for this recognition."
To provide as much capacity for storm water when it rains, the MWRD manages control structures and maximizes the flow of water to its seven water treatment plants to ensure the maximum amount of water moves through the system. The seven plants clean a combined flow of more than 3 billion gpd.
In addition, the MWRD manages the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan or "Deep Tunnel," which can hold up to 2.3 billion gal of water in the tunnels and over 8 billion gal of water in the Majewski and Thornton reservoirs. Once completed, the McCook Reservoir will hold an additional 10 billion gal of storage. Storms during the week of July 24 proved to be the biggest test to date for the Thornton Composite Reservoir since it first began taking water in November 2015.
The reservoir benefits 556,000 people in 14 communities throughout the South Side of Chicago and south suburbs. It protects 182,000 homes, businesses, and other facilities from flooding and improves water quality in the Calumet Rivers and Cal-Sag Channel by collecting combined sewer overflows before entering waterways. The reservoir's capacity holds these overflows before pumping the water back to the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant to be treated.
Source: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago