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Harry Volkman, Beloved Chicago Weatherman, Dies At 89

(CBS) -- Legendary Chicago weatherman Harry Volkman has died.

He died Thursday after a long illness at the age of 89, his son, radio personality Eddie Volkman, confirmed to CBS 2.

The elder Volkman spent more than 50 years as a TV weatherman and meteorologist. Eighteen of them were at CBS 2.

Harry was one of the first of the television weathermen, getting his start all the way back in 1950 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  A few years later, he was the man who broadcast the first televised tornado warning. When he began  his career, there was no radar or computers.

In the early days, Harry got a lot of his weather via Morse code on shortwave radio.  He always said he loved conveying information about the weather.

But he made it fun, too, and was famous for a certain sound effect: "Whoosh."

He came to Chicago in 1959, working at WMAQ and later at WGN and here at WBBM. While he was first and foremost a weather forecaster, his viewers came to know him for his sense of humor.

Harry also enjoyed being out in the field, reporting.  He was famous for all of the visits he made across the Chicago region, to classrooms, to senior centers --  wherever he could talk about the weather.

It became a tradition to present him with a flower, which he often wore later in the day during his broadcasts.

Harry did weather at CBS 2 from 1978 to 1996, when he moved on to work for Fox. He had been retired for more than a decade but wrote a book recently about his life as a weatherman.

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