Skip to content

World's Greatest Weatherman

Highly regarded for his weathercasting on TV, beloved meteorologist Harold Taft also kept long-haul truckers on the nation’s highways alert at night, as they listened to him on Fort Worth’s clear-channel WBAP-AM radio.

The old saying goes, If you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes. Lone Star weather might be unreliable, but not so the legendary Dallas-Fort Worth meteorologist Harold Taft.

Before stomach cancer claimed Harold in September 1991, “The World’s Greatest Weatherman” received more than 50,000 cards and letters from well-wishers. At the time of his last broadcast, on August 30, 1991, he had spent 41 years and 10 months forecasting North Texas weather and was the longest-serving TV meteorologist in the world. KXAS televised Harold Taft’s funeral service live.

An Enid, Oklahoma, native born in 1922, Harold found his calling by chance after graduating from college and joining the Army. With World War II underway, the Army Air Corps needed weather officers and sent Harold to study meteorology at the University of Chicago. In time, he would brief General Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Mark Clark, among others.

In 1946, Harold accepted a job as meteorologist for American Airlines. Three years later, he and two fellow airline meteorologists prepared a presentation for Fort Worth’s WBAP-TV (now KXAS). “We told them we would present a three-dimensional look at the weather, and we would call it Weather Telefacts, because we wanted to explain the weather to people,” Harold later said.

All three men were hired on the spot; Harold assumed the position of chief meteorologist at seven dollars a program. With his inaugural five-minute weathercast in October 1949, he became the first TV meteorologist west of the Mississippi, and one of only three in the United States.

Harold’s no-nonsense approach to weather forecasting never changed; neither did viewers’ loyalties. When a new station manager decided to replace “The Chief” in the early 1980s, KXAS switchboards lit up, people picketed the station, and advertisers threatened to pull out. Cars sported bumper stickers proclaiming, “I BELIEVE HAROLD.” Generations of North Texans had grown up watching Harold, and their support kept him on the air.

Back to top