Gary England will sign off as KWTV-9 chief meteorologist on Aug. 30 and become vice president for corporate relations and weather development, the station announced Tuesday.
David Payne, a former KFOR-4 morning meteorologist who joined KWTV in January, will take over as chief meteorologist.
England, 73, who has been with the station 41 years, still will do a periodic on-air segment, “Gary's I'll Keep You Advised,” which will focus on long-term weather patterns and events.
“I have been doing this for over 40-some years now,” England said after the announcement on the 6 p.m. newscast. “It's been a great time, great road, great people. But I'm excited about what I'm going to be doing now.”
As part of his new segment, he said, “One thing I will be doing is severe storm mitigations, improving the warnings, the safety systems we have.”
England's departure as chief meteorologist had been expected after Payne's hiring, but it was moved up 14 months. He told The Oklahoman after the May 20 tornado that he had planned to relinquish his chief meteorologist duties in October 2014. As part of his new role, he will continue to give speeches, represent KWTV at industry conferences and serve as in-house weather expert.
A native of Seiling, England graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and meteorology. He served in the U.S. Navy before joining KWTV in 1972.
“Gary England is an icon,” said David Griffin, chairman and CEO of Griffin Communications, in a news release. “The impact that he has had on Oklahoma and the field of meteorology is unparalleled. His dedication and passion for weather has revolutionized severe weather systems and coverage not only in Oklahoma but throughout the world. When you see television weather across America, you are seeing the results of Gary's work.”
England, who will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in November and has received three regional Emmy Awards, is considered an authority on severe weather. In 1981, he became the first person in history to implement, with Enterprise Electronics, the world's first Doppler radar for direct warnings to the public, according to the station.