Gary England embodies the true pioneering spirit of this award given for lifetime achievement. Gary England grew up in rural Oklahoma during a time when severe storm reports often came after the fact – or with so little warning that proper precautions were difficult to put into place. His first-hand experience with this problem instilled in him a lifelong commitment to changing that situation. In 1978, Gary persuaded KWTV management to purchase – and Enterprise Electronics to build – the world’s first commercial Doppler radar. In 1981, Gary became the first meteorologist in history to use Doppler radar for direct warnings to the public. The official weather warnings of the time, if any, came with too little time to take shelter from the storm. Gary’s role in the development and use of commercial Doppler radar led to an advancement of incalculable worth to the safety and protection of the viewing public.
Gary England is also responsible for developing “First Warning,” an automated severe weather warning computer system which provides instantaneous weather warnings from the National Weather Service in the form of a small map in the corner of a TV screen. The original television “Storm Tracker” system came next. Created in 1991 by Gary, this severe weather tracking and projection computer system allowed viewers, for the first time, to see the track of a storm, the name of a town and time of a storm’s arrival. “Storm Tracker” is now in use nationwide.
Gary talents do not limit themselves to those best exhibited before a camera or in the forecast center, however. Over the years, he has authored four books: Oklahoma Weather (1975), United States Weather (1976), Those Terrible Twisters (1987), and his most recent effort, Weathering the Storm – Tornadoes, Television and Turmoil (1996). Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, Weathering the Storm chronicles a history of the world of weather prediction and its incredible expansion in television news during Gary’s 25-year tenure at KWTV.
Always working toward his goal of enlightening and educating the public, Gary and the Oklahoma Department of Education created “Weather Classroom.” This program has reached literally thousands of Oklahoma students over the years. “Those Terrible Twisters,” a traveling weather road show of spectacular dimensions, has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans and is widely sought after by communities all over the state. Gary continues to maintain an extremely busy community service presence.
All of this, in addition to numerous awards and recognitions, including an Emmy Award from the Heartland Chapter for Best Weather Anchor, has made Gary England a much-trusted and –beloved figure in his home state. Continuing to anchor the 4, 5, 6, & 10PM News, his life at KWTV remains as full and vital as at any point during the past 25 years. He resides in Oklahoma City with his wife Mary.