Q: I’m writing to you in hopes you can do an article on the wonderful Fox 2 KTVI meteorologist Dave Murray. I have watched this weatherman from the very beginning and am really going to miss him being on Fox. — Linda Perkins, Pocahontas.
A: St. Louis-area viewers on both sides of the river have enjoyed Dave Murray’s weather broadcasts for 36 of the last 42 years. He recently announced he is going to retire from television broadcasting in September.
In a recent interview with the News-Democrat, Murray said: “I’ve been blessed to be able to do (weather forecasting) in three different cities for 42 years. You just don’t see very many people who have a career like that.”
Murray described the reaction from the community to his retirement announcement “as overwhelming.”
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“It’s all been positive and I’m blessed to have viewers who have been watching me do the weather for a long time and have stayed with me over the years,” Murray said.
Fans of the veteran weatherman will be able to enjoy Murray’s “pinpoint” forecasts for the St. Louis Cardinals and his work on radio, which he intends to continue.
Murray’s schedule, prior to this summer, ran from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. He said, “It was getting to be a little much. We do a heck of a lot of news.”
For his summer schedule, Murray is currently filming for the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news with a taped forecast for the 9 p.m. broadcast.
“That started June 1st, a Friday night,” Murray said. “I said to my wife (Janis), let’s go out on a date. We haven’t done that for a long time.”
At a restaurant, Murray said he and his wife were chatting about the last time they had a night out. “It had been 35 years,” Murray said.
“Instead of working 14 or 15 hours a day, it will be more like 5 hours a day, if that,” Murray said.
In addition to enjoying more time with his family, Murray said he wants to travel while he still has his health. He will turn 65 in November.
Dream destinations include Australia and New Zealand. “I’d love to go to Antarctica,” Murray said. He says Antarctica is a “hard sell” with his family.
During his tenure, which began in the 1970s, Murray has been on the front line of many of the technological changes that have taken place in weather forecasting.
“When I started back in 1976, it was hard, plywood maps,” Murray said. “You’d draw on it.”
“The original radar I used, you never saw it on the air because it was a piece of facsimile paper,” Murray said. “We’d get it once an hour.”
Murray described the amount of information he used in his early years to make weather forecasts as a “pinhead” compared to a “beach ball” amount of information today.
“I think the amount of information has become a bit of a curse,” Murray said. “I consider now that it’s almost too much information. It’s easy to take some information and call it a forecast, which it isn’t.”
Murray said, “It still needs to be processed by a person who is trained in the science and be able to massage it.”
He continues to create his weather forecasts from raw data and uses computer models to verify what he’s created. It’s “the way I’ve been forecasting the weather since I was in college,” Murray said.
“I’m not a model wonk,” Murray said. “Unfortunately, that’s where the business is going. A lot of human input is not being put in anymore.”
“Graham and Jet Get Wet: The Wonders of Weather” by Janis and Dave Murray is an illustrated book for children. Graham, a boy, goes on an adventure with a hawk named Jet and learns lessons about the weather.
If you have a question for Ask Heidi, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Belleville News-Democrat, ATTN: Ask Heidi, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427.