Rain or shine, something Kansas Citians have been able to count on for the last thirty years is turning to KSHB 41 News and watching chief meteorologist Gary Lezak tell them what to expect. But with Lezak’s retirement quickly approaching, we’re left wondering what’s next for Kansas City’s favorite weatherman
Lezak—who was named the best weatherman in town by our readers in August’s Best of KC issue—is regarded for his accuracy in predicting the common seven-day forecast. He also founded Weather20/20 in 2008, a service that provides forecasts for anywhere in the world up to one hundred days ahead of time. Weather2020 was built on the Lezak
Recurring Cycle, which forecasts based on repeating weather patterns.
Many were surprised to hear of Lezak’s retirement because he’s only sixty. However, Lezak plans to spend the next year focusing on his business and hopes to see it globally recognized. He says that he’s been considering stepping back for three to four years now, and focusing on Weather/2020 is “something he needs to do right now.”
“I was wondering when I would do it,” Lezak says. “I turned sixty years old this year and I was thinking, you know, maybe by the time I’m sixty-five. But because I have this other thing to share with the world, I thought I better do that because I don’t want to have regrets in my life.”
Although Lezak is moving on from local television, he’ll continue to be a loyal Kansas Citian. After just a few years of starting his career here, Lezak says that local sports, famous barbecue and the strong sense of community turned Kansas City into home.
Lezak says that even when he was offered positions elsewhere, he never pursued anything strongly. He has loved being a part of the KC community, and more importantly, the strong relationship he’s created with all of his viewers.
“When I look into the camera, there may be one thousand people out there,” he says. “There may be a million people out there watching. But I feel like I’m connecting with everyone one-on-one. And most of the time, when I’m in my normal zone, I would say that that’s what I’m trying to do, so I really feel like I have a relationship with everyone.”
Lezak says that being so deeply rooted in the community could at times make delivering news of severe weather difficult. “Reality TV at its most intense,” he calls it, saying it isn’t always easy when his job is to tell people they may be in danger.
On top of this, predicting the weather in Kansas City can be more difficult than other cities because of its precise location. Placed North of the Gulf of Mexico and East of the Rocky Mountains, Lezak says that air clashes above Kansas City can make the weather change drastically from a sunny day to a flash flood in just hours.
Lezak’s last day is December 1, and as the time draws closer, he says he expects more emotions. He plans to keep up with the Kansas City community through social media but feels like he’s accomplished what he sought out when he started on local TV.
“When I first came here, I used to keep a diary,” he says. “I wrote in my diary, ‘I hope to be bringing weather excellence in a different way to Kansas City.’ And I think I accomplished that.”