Change is in the forecast as Chris Bailey returns to WKYT as its chief meteorologist.
"I'm excited and honored to have this opportunity to return to my TV home," said Bailey who first worked at WKYT from 1997 to 2008.
Beginning Monday, March 5, Bailey will head the WKYT 27 FirstAlert Weather team. Using Kentucky's most powerful Doppler radar, Bailey will deliver his forecasts on WKYT's weekday evening newscasts.
"FirstAlert Defender is a forecasting tool unlike any other in this region," said Bailey. "The ability this radar has to help us keep you safe is unmatched, and I can't wait to use it on a daily basis."
In addition to WKYT's newscasts, Bailey's forecasts will appear on wkyt.com and the "Fox 56 10 o'clock News" on WDKY, which is produced through a partnership with WKYT.
"No one knows Kentucky weather like Chris Bailey," said WKYT President and General Manager Wayne Martin. "Being a Kentucky native who grew up watching WKYT and starting his career at the station means he knows and understands what's important to our viewers. Regardless the season or what the weather has in store for us, Chris has always demonstrated a passion and dedication that is second to none."
Born and raised in Salyersville, Bailey started at WKYT in 1997 as an intern while still a student at Morehead State University. After earning his bachelor's degree, Bailey became a full-time associate producer at WKYT helping do everything from writing news stories to printing and sorting scripts for anchors.
But Bailey's passion was always weather.
"It was one of those situations you read about but never think will happen to you," Bailey said about how he received his big break. "WKYT had an opening for a meteorologist and asked me to make a tape of myself doing a weather segment. They watched the tape, and I was hired the next day to do weekend weather."
Bailey also graduated from the meteorology program at Mississippi State University. He is a member of the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society.
Bailey started his broadcasting career at a young age. While in the fifth grade, a flood hit his hometown of Salyersville and he did a live phone report describing the conditions.
"Weather has been in my blood since I was a kid," Bailey said. "I got the opportunity to become a weather watcher for my old friend, Brian Collins, and which really set me on the path I'm on today."
During his previous tour of duty at WKYT, Bailey forecasted and delivered breaking weather information for several major events, including the devastating ice storm nine years ago and an F3 tornado that touched down only five miles from his home in 2004.
Since 2008, Bailey has worked at WSAZ in Huntington/Charleston, W.V., which along with WKYT is owned by Gray Television, Inc. Growing up in Kentucky, Bailey is an avid University of Kentucky Wildcat fan. Whether it's following the Cats to the basketball tournaments or tailgating at Commonwealth Stadium, he's usually there to cheer on the Big Blue.
When he's not on air doing the weather, you'll likely find him at his computer updating his blog. "It's taken on a life of its own over the years," Bailey said about the blog (kyweathercenter.com) which covers the entire state and receives more than a million hits a year.
Bailey and his wife Scarlett have a nine-year-old daughter. "There's the old saying 'that you can't go home again.' Well, we're going to try and prove that theory completely wrong," Bailey said about returning to WKYT and Lexington.
About WKYT's "FirstAlert Defender"
WKYT's "FirstAlert Defender" remains the most important, lifesaving advancement in weather technology and forecasting ever in Kentucky. WKYT's "FirstAlert Defender" dual polarity radar is more advanced and nearly three times more powerful than any other Doppler radar scanning Kentucky's skies.
The 1,000,000-watt "FirstAlert Defender" allows WKYT's meteorologists to detect, analyze, depict and warn of more kinds of dangerous weather than any other radar system.
Built in 2009 through a partnership with Kentucky's Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, the "FirstAlert Defender" gives WKYT's team of meteorologist numerous technological advantages when forecasting severe weather:
▪ The "FirstAlert Defender" allows WKYT to track tornadoes as they touch the ground, and follow them, even at night, when eyewitness confirmation is virtually impossible.
▪ In addition to picking up hydrometric features such as water aloft and its movement, the "FirstAlert Defender" dual polarity Doppler radar can detect storm debris, such as branches, that a tornado may have picked up while on the ground. This gives WKYT's meteorologists a better indication that the tornado is either on the ground or has been at some point.
▪ Rain, sleet, snow and hail are shown more clearly and accurately. Traditional radar cannot distinguish the difference between these precipitation types.
▪ Earlier warnings of the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States: flooding rain. Compared to the "FirstAlert Defender" dual polarity radar, traditional radar is virtually blind to this deadly phenomenon because its single radar beam can quickly become diminished as it attempts to pass through the storm.