Chief Meteorologist Mark Henderson has been a part of the 23 Storm Team since July, 2003. Ironically, it was July 5th, his first day in Rockford, that a powerful storm caused widespread damage to the Forest City, including toppling WIFR’s 700-plus foot broadcast tower. That was just the first of memorable weather stories Mark’s been able to share with Stateliners over the past several years, Mark, or “Hendo”, as he’s known to colleagues and friends, has previously spent time forecasting the weather for stations in Rhinelander, Wisconsin and, prior to that, Cadillac, Michigan. Strangely, he thought coming to Rockford would mean being spared from some very harsh winters, but that hasn’t necessarily proven to be the case. Nonetheless, Mark enjoys the daily challenges that the Stateline’s ever-changing weather presents!
Mark originally hails from the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, a village that’s earned the nickname of the “City of Arrows,” a light hearted jab at the fact that just about every stoplight has an independent left-turn arrow, which costs motorists driving through town countess minutes of travel time on a daily basis.
Mark is a 2001 graduate of Valparaiso University in Indiana. There, he participated in a two-year internship at WGN-TV in Chicago, as well as numerous storm chases in the Great Plains, an experience he calls “one of the greatest rushes in the world.”
One of the most rewarding parts of Mark’s job here at WIFR is spending time in the community with our wonderful Stateline viewers. Whether it’s a casual chat at the supermarket, visiting area schools to talk weather, jumping into Olson Lake for the annual Polar Plunge, serving as a judge for one of the area’s many food cookoffs, or just hanging out at one of the many summertime festivals and fairs, Mark has found Stateliners to be among the friendliest people he’s been around!
Mark also enjoys taking his weathercasts on the road, highlighting various charitable functions, school events, and festivals that take place year-round in the Stateline.
But when severe weather threatens the Stateline, Mark is all business. He takes great pride in using the WIFR’s State-of-the-Art Weather technology to provide the most accurate and timely information to keep his viewers safe. Earning the trust of our viewers, to him, is “what we strive for each and every day, and we never take it for granted.”
In his free time, you can find Mark outside enjoying a wide array of outdoor activities, or inside cheering on his favorite teams, the Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks. Mark’s latest ambition: learning how to cook things that don’t come from a box. Quite often you’ll find him watching Food Network trying to conjure up new ideas or skills for the kitchen.
Mark’s parents still reside in the Elgin area, another added perk of being here in Rockford. He’s thankful for the time he’s spent in the Forest City thus far, and looks forward to more great times in the months and years ahead.
You can catch Mark’s forecast Monday through Friday evenings during 23 News at 5, 6, and on the Update at 10.