I'll start off by admitting that I am not a weather geek (definition: someone who makes a word like bombogenesis a permanent part of his blog). A weather geek would have to pick WGN's legendary Tom Skilling. He's so good that Gore Verbinski, director of The Weather Man, asked him to coach Nicolas Cage in the finer points of the craft (as seen in a short bonus film on the DVD). But despite Skilling's deep knowledge and boundless enthusiasm, he isn't my favorite weather person.
I don't watch much television news, but even if I did, Mary Kay Kleist would probably be my favorite weather person. I know what you're thinking, but no, I don't have a "thing" for her. Nor does it have anything to do with accuracy. Channel 2 claims to have the most accurate weather in Chicago, but my guess is that they are right 52% of the time instead of 51% like the others. I don't put much stock in anyone's forecast. Looking at Kleist's bio, you might wonder if I like her because she names Lance Armstrong as her "dream interview" but that's not it, either.
What makes Kleist my favorite is the way she walks around on camera. Unlike most weathercasters who stand in the foreground and move left or right, Kleist moves in all directions. Through the magic of chroma key, whenever she steps away from the cameraman, Kleist appears to be walking on the map. One can only imagine the terror she is unleashing upon the good folks of southern Indiana when she does this. I would love to see her do a weather forecast for the Far East -- imagine Kleist-zilla stomping through Tokyo!
At only five feet and two inches tall, Kleist probably has practical reasons for stepping back onto the map. It's harder for her to reach her hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin than it is for her five-foot eleven-inch weekday counterpart, Steve Baskerville. Ironically, Baskerville says, "I wish I could be a little bit taller so I could be a basketball player." Look at the bright side, Steve -- at least you don't have to stomp all over the Hoosier State to point to Waukegan!