Jesse Risley, who has been involved in storm chasing and storm spotting for over 20 years, reports live from the field during WGEM’s Breaking Weather coverage. He also anchors WGEM weathercasts when other members of the team take time off.
Jesse has been a certified National Weather Service SKYWARN severe weather spotter since 1999. He has presented at several professional workshops on the topics of tornado climatology, storm chasing and safety, and the March 2, 2012 tornado outbreak in Central Indiana.
Jesse's storm chasing videography work from the field has been featured on several major networks and used in several National Weather Service training venues.
Born and raised in Streator, Illinois, Jesse's fascination with extreme weather dates back to an early experience surveying the aftermath of the Plainfield, Illinois, F5 tornado in August of 1990, and from keenly watching annual airings of Tom Skilling's "It Sounded Like a Freight Train" to raise awareness of northern Illinois tornado climatology.
Jesse has been a geography and social sciences educator with the Macomb, Illinois, school district since 2003. His emphasis as an instructor in the field of geography includes a focus on physical systems such as weather and climatology, as well as the relationship between human culture and the physical environment. Jesse also works as an adjunct instructor for Western Illinois University's Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
In his free time, Jesse enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading non-fiction works on history and contemporary social issues.