13 fascinating facts about Ed Wilson:
• I was born at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Mountain Home, Idaho. It cost my parents $7.00. (Just the price of food for my mother at the military hospital.)
• I’m an only child.
• I ran a family popcorn stand on the county courthouse square in Grundy Center, Iowa.
• Listened to WHO Radio every morning before school in Grundy Center. Never thought I would meet and work with the great cornerstones of Iowa broadcasting one day.
• Made it to Iowa State Speech Contest as an 8th grader.
• I was a three-time Iowa All State Choir member.
• In 1980, toured Germany, France, Belgium, England and Holland with the Iowa Youth Choral.
• 1982 Grundy Center High School Senior Class President.
• During college, I was a Baptist youth minister in Conway, Arkansas.
• I have sky dived.
• In 1989, TV 13 anchor, Laurie Groves, introduced me to my wife Angela. (Angela grew up in Marshalltown.)
• Have two children, Faith and Cole.
• While at WHO TV I have lived in West Des Moines, Urbandale and Waukee.
My grandfather was a meteorologist during WWII. Living in a small town and just a bike ride away from both sets of grandparents was a wonderful gift. It allowed me to grow up with the influence of my extended family. My grandpa Brockway was most special to me. I loved to watch him predict the weather. He was a great prognosticator.
Using the wind, the clouds and observing humidity and temperatures, he could amaze me with his very accurate forecasts. I thought he was the magic weatherman. It sparked my interest in weather and made a huge influence in my decision to become a meteorologist. I still have many of my grandfather’s college text books. They are priceless reminders of my weather heritage.
My first reporting job was with my home town paper. I was a junior in High School and employed by the Grundy Register to report on our wrestling team. I was given the chance to go to follow the Spartans to Des Moines for state championships.
My first job as a forecaster was at KIMT in Mason City. I did weekend weather and reported three days a week for the CBS affiliate.
In September 1988 I was hired as weekend meteorologist and week-day reporter at WHO TV 13 in Des Moines. I soon became the noon and 5 PM meteorologist and co-anchored the Noon show. I have been the Chief Meteorologist for Channel 13 the past 17 years.
Growing up in Iowa and forecasting Iowa weather the last 25 years has given me the first-hand knowledge that is critical in forecasting one of the most diverse climates in the country.
Major storms include:
March Ice Storm 1990 that brought down power lines and left the metro and much of the state without power.
Iowa Blizzards: Over the past 22 years I have forecasted several blizzards that have closed down central Iowa. Both Governor Branstad’s and Culver’s offices have asked for my assistance before closing Interstates and declaring states of emergency. My first major blizzard experience came during the 1973 blizzard that shut down the Grundy Center school system for 2 weeks. (I was in the 5th grade.)
Tornado Outbreaks: Many tornado outbreaks have required me to stay on the air for hours and cover some of the most devastating storms in Iowa’s history.
The Parkersburg tornado that killed 8 people hit just 20 miles from my boyhood home. I was visiting my parents that weekend and drove through the storm to get back to Des Moines and on the air as the tornado moved into northeast Iowa.
I reported on the first F5 tornado that produced wind speeds over 200 miles per hour. It hit Norman, OK in 1993. Our team went to Norman and reported live from that devastation.
Flooding: The major flood of 1993 was one of the most important storms of my career.
WHO TV 13 was covering the Des Moines Grand Prix. This race track included many of the streets in Des Moines.
10 Inches of rain fell in Jefferson, Iowa. The rain came in less than 24 hours and started to run down the Raccoon and Des Moines River basins that feed the confluence of the rivers in Des Moines.
The race cars were driving over the bridges that covered the River in downtown Des Moines. Race officials stopped the Grand Prix when the water was lapping up to the pavement.
I volunteered to stay at the station overnight to keep an eye on the potential flooding. Later that night I was anchoring the story of my life as the city of Des Moines lost its water works and over 250,000 people were told they would not have water by the morning.
I stayed on the air for the first 30 hours. We delivered live reports on one of the biggest stories to ever hit the city of Des Moines. WHO TV stayed on the air, commercial free, through the first week of coverage.
There have been many weather events that have equipped me to be a better meteorologist. I look forward the new strides in weather technology and to the wide weather extremes that WHO HD and Iowa have to offer.