JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Long-time WJXT chief meteorologist George Winterling is recovering at home after a stay at the hospital at a rehabilitation facility.

The family sent a photo of Winterling relaxing in his favorite chair, where he often watches the news -- especially the weather.

He wanted the community to know he is thankful for all the prayers and get well wishes sent his way.

Winterling can't wait to walk his dog, Callie, and go back to working in his garden.

Winterling, who was chief meteorologist at WJXT for more than four decades, stepped back from daily forecasting duties two years ago, but has remained active as Channel 4's hurricane expert. He joined the station's coverage of Hurricane Irene last month and maintains his Eye on the Storm blog during the tropical season.

Among his numerous career highlights, Winterling was the only local weathercaster to accurately predict Hurricane Dora coming ashore near Jacksonville in 1964.

In the early days, he designed and copyrighted the space-view weather maps to show viewers weather systems across the United States.

In 1978, Winterling was the first meteorologist to combine temperature with humidity to address how hot Florida's steamy summers feel -- something he called the humiture.

One year later, the National Weather Service began tracking the same phenomena, which it called the heat index.