I miss Katie Horner.

For those of you new to the area or if you’re not a fan of Kansas City weather, Katie Horner was a meteorologist for Channel 5 here in town a few years ago. This was back in the NEWS IN YOUR FACE era of local news and Channel 5 was the best at it.



Holy crap. Yes. Yes I will tune in. I hope it’s not worms. Oh my god I hope it’s not worms.

Channel 5 was aggressive and they consistently won in the ratings with equal parts CNN Breaking News, National Enquirer, Buzzfeed and an air horn. It was spectacular television and the crowning jewel of Channel 5’s broadcasts was the weather with Katie Horner.

Horner was brash and loud. The other stations had grandfatherly guys like folksy Mike Thompson or quirky guys like Brian Busby and Gary Lezak. Katie Horner had bigger balls than all those fellas put together and they were on display night after night. But the greatest nights in television history were when there was a line of thunderstorms streaking across the plains of Kansas heading towards the KCTV-5 viewing area.

This was Game Seven of the NBA finals. This was the Daytona 500. This was Beethoven as it was meant to be played. Horner would rifle off the cities in the path of potential destruction with the tact and grace of a jackhammer. Basehor. Look out!! Take cover!! Horner says you’re about to be pounded. Platte Woods? Better get into your bunker. 435 and Metcalf? Prepare to meet your maker.

Katie Horner once famously instructed her listeners to go to the basement and put a helmet on and it was fantastic. Katie was like riding a ride at Worlds of Fun without a safety belt. It was exhilarating and heart pounding.

And then the complaints came and people ruined television in Kansas City forever.

Monday, a strong line of July thunderstorms rolled through the area. I flipped between Busby and Lezak and Thompson and some guy with perfect hair. There was no yelling. There was no helmet warnings. There was a silent list of cities and the “track” of the storm. That’s not a track, you dummies. That’s a TARGET. That’s a BULLSEYE. One of those weather guys even told me that even though the sirens were going off, that it wasn’t that big of a deal. HOW IS THAT GOING TO RAISE MY HEART RATE???

Katie Horner left Kansas City shortly after the complaints rolled in. She got a job for a short while in St. Louis as a weather person there. But now she sells plumbing in the Raymore area – once in the impending doom pathway of a storm she screamed out. And now, she is selling PVC pipes and shower fixtures.

I miss you Katie Horner. On Monday, I went to the basement and put a helmet on until the sirens stopped in your honor.

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12 Responses to Ode to Katie Horner

  1. Marc Foster says:

    If you want a real weather circus, move to Oklahoma City.

  2. Katie horner says:

    Dear Chris,
    I read your ramblings with a big smile on my face. Those were the days, weren’t they? I am forever grateful to the viewers who “got it”. Who understood the role of management and my role as employee.
    Though I caught much of the flack for KCTV and their consultant’s idea of how severe weather should be covered, I loved being KCTV’s chief meteorologist especially back in the 90’s when Don North and John Rose were at the helm. I loved being the emcee for all the fun races especially the Susan G. Komen events and presenting weather to children at all the schools. I took pride in being one of the few female chief meteorologists in the country at the time and being a role model for my daughters.
    Let me update you on what I’m doing now. Yes, I left St. Louis to return to KC. Soon after returning, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I quit my job in KC to return to St. Louis to help take care of my parents. I commute back and forth caring for my children in KC and my parents in St. Louis. I could not do this if it were not for fabulous friends and family that support me.
    As for doing the weather?? I freelance from time to time filling in at stations that need short term weather help. I get to do what I love with no targets on my back and I have the freedom to be by my parent’s side when needed.
    So,again, thank you for your rambling. I took it with all the meaning it intended. I always knew KC had a great sense of humor and it is good to be able to laugh together now.
    But, if you’ll excuse me. A storm is coming. I have to find my helmet.
    Best wishes,
    Katie Horner

  3. Chris says:


    What a fun note. Thank you. And I appreciate that you took the spirit of my ramblings with tongue firmly implanted in cheek.

    Glad that you are doing well and all our best to your family.

    Say what you will about the presentation of your broadcasts, but you will always forever be remembered fondly here in Kansas City when precipitation begins to fall from the sky.

    All the best,

  4. AR says:

    She’s actually a real estate agent in KC 🙂

  5. AR says:

    Oops! Disregard my comment!

  6. John says:

    Katie Horner was always my favorite because she was passionate and knew her job, I trusted her guidance through the storms above all the other weather personalities in Kansas City. I wish her all the best for her and her family.

  7. Larry says:

    God Bless you, Katie! I truly admire your love and dedication to family. You are an asset to wherever you are. I hope that one day you return to being the premier weather person in KC.

  8. Deborah says:

    I loved Katie! I felt informed and safe when she was on during storm season. I always felt the whiners and cry babies bemoaning program interruptions had never been in a tornado. I had! Like I said..Katie HELPED me deal with storms and the anxiety. I miss her!

  9. Helen says:

    Katie Horner was great and what I appreciated was how she told you early if there was a possibility of tornadoes. My daughter is Downs Syndrome and would be home alone at times because I’d be at work but she would get her safe place ready in case she would need to go there. She watch Katie Horner and always felt she would be ok. That is something I still see as remarkable. I remember she showed up at the station in her p.j. and it was real late and weather was real bad. I was so glad to see her on the t.v. because she stayed in front of the storms warnings and would not go back to see the damage until the danger was over. I appreciate that. And yes I have gone thru a few tornadoes worst one being the last one that hit Wyandotte County out at 78th & Cernech. Have the people who complained ever actually been in a tornado ? I bet not. My point about her wearing her p.j.’s is I read some rude comments made about her wearing pj and thought to myself, I don’t care if she shows up wearing her birthday suit to keep me and mine safe. In my opinion, the men felt threatened. She was very good at her job and so what if a couple of times she interrupted a game and was wrong what about the many times she was right? Katie Horner my daughter (who lives alone now) and myself are so happy that you are back in KC on Ch 9. Thank You.

  10. Erin Fraise says:

    Regardless of who was actually responsible for the alarmist trend the weather reporting took, this tactic put lives in danger. When EVERY storm in an emergency worthy of panic, then NO storm is an emergency worthy of panic. Kansas City natives are already cynical when it comes to summer storms; most of us don’t even miss a step when the sirens go off. But when Horner turned EVERY storm into an impending armageddon, we not only didn’t HEED her warnings, we laughed at them. And that meant that the few storms she reported that really were very dangerous were most likely ignored, at least in terms of her reporting.

    I don’t wish her any ill will, and I know she couldn’t have done anything that wasn’t sanctioned by the executives. I get that. But it was dangerous.

  11. Larry Garrett says:

    Erin, I think you’re totally wrong. Have you ever been in an actual tornado? In all sincerity, I hope you haven’t. I used to hate hearing severe weather reports and still do. They worry me and I hate “worry” intruding on whatever I have planned. However, a tornado is very difficult to predict and even when it’s on the ground it may be literally invisible, especially at night. I think most people prefer to be as far away from a tornado as they can be. The more warning you have, the better your chances of being far away or in a shelter. People have always been cynical and it has nothing to do with Katie Horner or the weather people. We want the news that directly affects us. We’re not concerned with what’s happening fifty miles away until it gets here. Yet, we demand to know why we didn’t have more warning when a major storm hits our own area……. If you didn’t or don’t pay attention to storm warnings, that’s your fault/choice, not someone else’s. Predicting when, where, and if a tornado will strike is nearly impossible. At best, it’s an imperfect science. Maybe it’s a wicked storm and I spend two hours in the basement and all it does is rain. Yes, I missed a good movie with all those warnings, but my family is okay and our house is still here. I want the weather people to be wrong when they’re predicting severe storms and I’m glad when they are….. Why blame Katie Horner or other weather people for not presenting the warnings in a manner more agreeable to you? They’re working with imprecise information and trying to provide accurate information for the public regarding deadly storms that can develop in minutes. Also, where did you get your information that only a “few” of the storms Katie Horner reported were actually dangerous? And how do you know they were most likely ignored?……. I get it that you don’t like severe weather warnings (most of us don’t), but blaming Katie Horner doesn’t make sense. If she or anyone else reports a tornado in my area, I hope they are 100% wrong.

  12. Lloyd says:

    A real person on TV. Seems like others are using her tactics. Don’t need more show- nothing, say-nothing- like Weather channel weather reports. Welcone home, Katie.

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