After more than three decades on the weather front of two Chicago TV stations, Andy Avalos is ready to ride off into the sunset.
Avalos, 66, announced Friday he’s retiring as primary morning meteorologist at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. Before joining NBC 5 for the first of two runs in 1994, he spent 10 years at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.
His last day on the air will be August 27, according to Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5.
“I’m looking forward to retirement and spending more quality time with my family and friends,” Avalos told colleagues in an email. “But to be honest with you, I think I am looking forward to never setting my alarm clock to wake me up at midnight ever again!”
Avalos began his career at KOAA, the NBC affiliate in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and later worked for KMGH, the ABC affiliate in Denver, before joining ABC 7 as weekend weatherman in 1984. He was tapped to replace Jim Tilmon at NBC 5 in 1994.
From 1999 to 2003 he ran a pancake house in west suburban Lemont before returning full-time to NBC 5's weekday morning newscasts.
Calling Avalos "one of the nicest people in our business," Whittaker said: "We will miss him in our newsroom. But his retirement is so well-deserved. We wish him the best in the years ahead, and thank him for his many years of service to us and our viewers."
Here is the text of Avalos’s email to colleagues:
I have been absolutely blessed with a wonderful career that has spanned nearly 40 years in radio and television. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. After 33 years on air here in Chicago, it's time to pass the baton to the next generation. I want to thank the many wonderful friends and colleagues I've had the pleasure to work with over the last 3 decades. I especially want to acknowledge and thank the viewers and friends on social media from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for your excitement and loyalty. I could never have done it without each and every one of you.
As for the future, I'm looking forward to retirement and spending more quality time with my family and friends. But to be honest with you, I think I am looking forward to never setting my alarm clock to wake me up at midnight ever again!
Thank you again. It has been an amazing opportunity.
Your Friendly (Retired) Weatherman
Here is the text of Whittaker's email to staff:
After 33 years of forecasting weather in Chicago, Andy Avalos is planning to retire. He’ll be leaving NBC 5 News at the end of August.
Snow storms, tornadoes, floods, winds, heat waves and droughts — Andy has covered it all! He has been a key member of our Storm Team. He started here at NBC 5 in 1994 after working several years at WLS. He took a couple of years off to run his pancake house and then came back in 2003 to be the primary meteorologist on our morning newscasts.
For the last 18 years our viewers have awakened to Andy telling them how to prepare for the day’s weather. Andy has also been a leader of our Clear The Shelters initiative. His love of his pets is no secret to all of his fans and our viewers. A few of his pets have even made it to our newscasts!
Andy is also one of the nicest people in our business. We will miss him in our newsroom. But his retirement is so well-deserved. We wish him the best in the years ahead, and thank him for his many years of service to us and our viewers.
Andy’s last day will be Friday August 27th. Congratulations, Andy . . . and thank you!
Andy asked me to share the note below with all of you.
Station Manager & VP of News
NBC 5 Chicago
Thursday's comment of the day: Tom Skilling: Rob — What a lovely tribute to our little Maddie. THANK YOU so very much. And heartfelt thanks to all who took the time to post such kind and loving comments. Maddie was such a adorable little doggie who had been treated very badly in her first years. We told her early on when we adopted her, "Maddie — NO ONE will ever mistreat you again." How such a beautiful animal was so willing to love humans in the way she did after those terrible early years — and SHE DID LOVE — always amazed me. Losing such a dear family member turns one's life upside down and inside out as all our fellow dog and pet animal lovers know. THANK YOU again for a lovely piece, Rob!! We never expected that.