Back when we first reported that Lord Gary England – the man who the New York Times so cleverly and originally called “The Weather God of Oklahoma” – was stepping down as Chief Meteorologist at News 9, the date of his final broadcast was reportedly going to be Friday, August 30th.
The timing seemed odd (Friday night of a holiday weekend), but fitting. If Gary was going to go out, it might as well be on a “Friday Night in the Big Town” when Oklahomans of all ages could stay up late and watch the legend give his signature catchphrase one last time.
Well, leave it to News 9 to screw that up. Since OKC’s “news leader” seems to care more about ratings than a perfect ride into a partly cloudy sunset, they’ve bumped up Gary’s farewell to tonight. From the stupid Channel 9 website, where dreams go to die:
It’s been a 10 days since we broke the story about Gary England’s upcoming departure as our state’s Severe Weather Lord, Savior and Commander-in-Chief. Life has been partly cloudy with a chance of drizzle ever since.
If you’re like me, you’re probably in the “bargaining” stage of grief. For the past couple of days, I’ve found myself constantly thinking “David Payne can’t be bad,” or “At least Gary is staying on as the Vice-President of Weather Development.” That’s kind of depressing in its own right, but at least I’ve finally stopped pacing around my backyard shouting out random hail stone sizes. That was awkward, and I’m pretty sure the reason my crazy neighbor shot me with a pellet gun. Hopefully the reoccurring dream where Gary and I ride a luckdragon through the Arbuckle Mountains ends soon, too.
To help us in the recovery process (and help remind those from out-of-state why Lord England is an Oklahoma legend), here’s a YouTube clip of 1988′s “TV 9′s Weather Classroom with Gary England.” In it, Gary explains how tornadoes work to a bunch of kids who are either really bored or in total awe of his holiness.
Maybe Kelly Ogle was onto something and the rapture is upon us.
Via an internal News 9 email, we have learned that Gary England’s final broadcast will be on Friday, August 30th. At that point, Lord England will accept a new role as “Vice President for Corporate Relations and Weather Development” for Griffin Communications. He will be replaced by David “Scream Chamber” Payne.
Here’s the email that Griffin Communications CEO David Griffin just sent to company staff:
The LA Times features a lengthy profile on Gary England today. The article was written by Oklahoma-native Hailey Branson-Potts. It chronicles Gary’s rise from a young rascal in Seiling to the life-saving severe weather deity he is today.
From the LA Times:
At 73, [Gary England] has chronicled some of Oklahoma’s most devastating storms in this part of the nation, known as Tornado Alley.
England got started in 1972, when he stood in front of cameras with chalkboards, not computer graphics, providing the visuals. He is credited with developing faster and more accurate methods of predicting tornadoes and often issues warnings before the National Weather Service.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘Gary England saved my life,’ ” said Keli Pirtle, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Wait for it…Wait for it…
A popular Oklahoma City blog recently voted England the most influential person in the state; Jesus came in second.
Yep, I guess we’re that popular Oklahoma City blog. Cool, huh? In 2009 we did rank the 50 most powerful Oklahomans and Gary England did come in at number one. He ranked ahead of super humans such as Chuck Norris, Jesus Christ and Barry Switzer. Normally, we get all feisty and come after the local media when they refuse to mention us by name, but we’ll let the LA Times exclusion slide. This is because a) it’s the LA Fucking Times and b) we are not worthy enough to be mentioned in his presence.
In case you didn’t know, we’ve worshipped and idolized Gary England since this site began in 2007, so I thought it would be fun to look back at some of his greater moments. This list excludes, of course, the time we sacrificed that lamb next to Channel 9′s doppler radar. Apparently that’s frowned upon by the OKCPD.
1. Gary England Making the Daily Show
Back in 2007, News 9 produced a super scary and now kind of chilling commercial about tornadoes. Around the same time, Jim Inhofe made comments that the Weather Channel was trying to scare people into believing some crazy conspiracy by scientists know as “Global Warming.” Somehow, the Daily Show found out about the two and tied them together. If you’re looking for a bit of levity, watch it. It’s kind of hysterical:
Earlier this week, the Oklahoma Heritage Association announced its 2013 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Class. It was highlighted by several rich businessmen, a cool judge and one severe weather deity:
Seven outstanding Oklahomans have been selected for induction into the 86th class of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. These accomplished Oklahomans will join the cast of 655 individuals who have been inducted into the Hall since 1928. The honorees officially were announced at a luncheon today at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. New inductees were presented to a roomful of past Oklahoma Hall of Fame honorees.
The 2013 Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductees are: Michael D. Case, Tulsa, Gary A. England, Seiling, John D. Groendyke, Enid, Timothy C. Headington, Oklahoma City, Vicki Miles-LaGrange, Oklahoma City, Russell M. Perry, Oklahoma City and Reggie N. Whitten, Seminole.
Click here for more information about each of the class members.
The honorees will be formally inducted to the Hall on Nov. 7 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. Also in November, their portraits will be added to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Gallery at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. Their biographies, photos and fun facts will be accessed through touch screen computers in the same gallery.
Let me get this straight. Gary England wasn’t already in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame!? How’s that possible? I know he was caught up on the dew point temperature betting scandal in the mid-1970s, but that was such a long time ago. Since then, he’s saved 1.8-million lives and once fended off a maxi-wedge multi-vortex grinder with nothing but a magic barometer and Doppler radar shield.
To celebrate this long over due announcement, here’s a new piece of art by local artist Trent Lawson. If I have my way, it will soon be hanging over the fireplace in Ogle Manor. It features Gary England, armed with a rifle and chainsaw, protecting Linda Cavanaugh from an evil army of deranged skeletons:
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