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Longtime WCCO weatherman Bud Kraehling dies at 96

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Longtime Twin Cities meteorologist Bud Kraehling, who was the man Minnesotans trusted the most for the forecast, has died at age 96.

Kraehling began his 50-year broadcasting career as an announcer on WCAZ in Illinois as a favor for a friend when the station was short on staff, his Pavek Museum of Broadcasting bio notes. After six months he moved to WGIL before serving in the U.S. Army during World War II.

In 1949, he came to the Twin Cities and appeared on TV for the first time on what is now WCCO-TV, his bio notes, where he remained until his retirement in 1996, WCCO says.

He died of cancer Wednesday night, the Star Tribune reports.

For nearly 50 years, Minnesotans turned to Kraehling – who didn't have a degree in meteorology – to get the latest on the forecast. Throughout his career, he adapted to technology as it changed and evolved, his bio notes, and in 1958 he helped use weather radar in the area for the first time, WCCO reports.

"The person who does your weather has to be the most likable of the entire staff. Bud was that, a happy-go-lucky guy. But when weather becomes news and you have to tell people danger is approaching, he took that very seriously. When his face turned serious, the whole community stopped what they were doing and listened," Don Shelby, who worked with Kraehling for nearly a decade, told the Star Tribune.

Not only was he a pioneer in the field, but he was also a mentor to many meteorologists in the area today.

MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner remembered Kraehling in his blog post Thursday, noting all he had learned from him throughout their time together at WCCO, saying: "Thank you Bud for all you have done for me, and for Minnesota. The world is a much better place because of you."

"His grace, sense of humor and steadiness set a great example for all of us," Huttner wrote. "...Talking to Bud about anything is good tonic for the soul. He teaches you about the richness of life without even trying."

Many others shared their condolences for the weather pioneer:

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