Former Quad-City TV meteorologist Terry Swails is again facing an uncertain future.
But he is doing so with considerable confidence and public support, he said Wednesday.
Swails left the Quad-Cities in 2014 after Moline-based WQAD failed to renew his contract as chief meteorologist. He worked at KWQC in Davenport from 1986 to 2008, giving him 28 years on TV in the Quad-Cities.
A few months after parting ways with WQAD, he was hired to head the weather team at KGAN in Cedar Rapids. As his 5-year contract came to an end there, Swails announced this week, the station declined to renew the relationship.
The 63-year-old Swails said he has lost his job in Cedar Rapids for the same reason he lost his positions in the Quad-Cities — money.
As a respected, recognized and experienced meteorologist, Swails said, his salary was commensurate. But that frequently meant he was a target for cuts.
"Now that I'm going to be 64, I've got enough (money) in my pocket to survive," he said Wednesday. "I think it's kind of a time I'm going into a new chapter, and the door is wide open."
Swails and his wife, former journalist Carolyn Wettstone, have put their house on the market in the Cedar Rapids area and could be heading to Canada for a year, he said. The couple and their daughter, Eden, traveled to Quebec City and fell in love with the largely French-speaking region, he said.
If their house sells in the next month or so, he said, the family will lease a small home in Quebec City for a year.
"We have a dog and two cats, a small space and new language," he said of the possible move. "Eden would want to get back (to Iowa) for her last two years of high school."
If the year-long adventure doesn't work out, Swails said, he will devote more time to his spring storm-chasing business. Through tswails.com, he offers severe-weather tours, taking regular people with him on the hunt for severe weather in the Plains states, including Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and the Dakotas.
The best time to chase severe weather is the month of May, he said, but he never could get away from the station then. Next spring, if he hasn't been recruited by another TV station, he'll devote tswails.com to a several-month offering for weather travels.
Meanwhile, Swails said he has been touched by the ongoing support of Quad-Citians, even though he left the area five years ago.
"People there continue to reach out and offer support and concern," he said. "We've really been moved by that.
"The general idea for now is: Stay tuned."
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