Where are they now? Jym Ganahl

2005-01-22T00:00:00Z Where are they now? Jym Ganahl Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier
January 22, 2005 12:00 am

In September 1966 Jym Ganahl became part of the meteorological history book.

At just 17, a fresh face just out of high school, he stood in front of the camera in the KWWL newsroom and delivered his first weather broadcast. He was the youngest weather forecaster in the country. Four years later be became the youngest person ever to be granted the seal of approval from the American Meteorological Society, the profession's highest honor.

"I went from the youngest to the oldest," the now 56-year-old Ganahl said in a phone interview.

During his 12-year stint with Channel 7 Ganahl recalls basketball games as a member of the Super Shooters. The team of station employees would play, and usually lose, to organizations in the communities they covered. Ganahl said now he can admit they usually lost on purpose so they wouldn't upset any viewers.

On Wednesdays Ganahl could be found at Cadillac Lanes battling it out with area senior citizens. More than 100 competitors would come out each week, trying to beat Ganahl for a chance at a prize.

"Even the governor came to watch because he couldn't believe so many people were coming out to bowl against me," he said.

Without the help of technology like Doppler radar, earlier meteorologists often relied on pointers to indicate areas of exciting weather on a map. Ganahl said he received numerous pointers, made of everything from fishing poles to batons, to use on air.

"I am amazed at how primitive everything was," he said. "I always felt we should be apologizing for getting it wrong as much as we did, but people always seemed to understand."

Ganahl left Channel 7 in 1978 for a position with WCMH, an NBC affiliate in Columbus, Ohio.

In his 26 years in Ohio Ganahl has made a name for himself both on and off the air. In 1993 the station sent him back to Iowa to report of the flooding Mississippi River.

"Growing up in Burlington, I knew the terrain. I was there about two weeks and I covered the floods for basically the whole country," he said.

In his own neighborhood, Ganahl is known for the 10-foot drifts of snow in his front yard and the annual ice rink.

"It's the only extravagance I have," he said of the snow-making machine. "I don't have cell phones or a grill or anything like that. I have a snow machine."

The ice rink is an annual tradition that dates back to his childhood days. Each year his dad would set up the rink at their home on Nevada Street. The neighborhood kids would enjoy the ice while the weather was cold, but come spring, the neighbors could always expect a flooded yard.

Looking back, Ganahl isn't sure why they never complained. Today, he takes great care in draining the rink directly into drain so as not to upset the neighbors.

In 2003 Ganahl once again made the history books when he was named one of the 25 sexiest meteorologists in the country by Victoria's Secret. He told the Courier then the company "must have very lax standards. I'm 55. I figured they must have added my age and my waist size, and I beat everybody."

For the most part, Ganahl isn't looking for the next big award. He is happy just going to work every morning.

"I'm not an awards kind of person. My job is my hobby and I just plug along on a daily basis. I am never bored with coming to work, even though it has been 39 years."

- Emily Christensen, Courier Staff Writer

Copyright 2015 Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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