I’m a weather nut. I admit it. It may go back to my days as a kid on a farm and the boredom of being the only person under thirty. At least weather was different. Or my fascination could come from the days when I had to fly around in it, or when I taught others about it as part of their flight training. Or it may just come from living in Florida, where weather’s so predictable that it’s easy to understand.
Whatever the reason, I’m fascinated by it. I love looking at weather maps. I love looking at the sky and prognosticating, and then watching to find out how close my predictions were. I love being able to say (offhand, of course) to a northern visitor, “Oh, don’t worry, it’ll (whatever)” with a reasonable chance of being right. I like looking at clouds. I enjoy storms. Sunshine bores me.
Since the Weather Channel arrived, a lot of other nuts seem to’ve crawled out of the woodwork (to mix a metaphor.) I read somewhere that many people list TWC on TV polls as a source of entertainment. And believe me, it’s amazing what those folks can do! I’ve learned more about meteorology watching the Weather Channel than I did when I studied and taught it. Satellite images and computer simulations have changed “weather science” from oxymoron into fact. People complain about errors in forecasting afternoon rain showers, forgetting that there was a time when the only way you knew a hurricane was coming was by radio reports in Morse code from the ships that were caught in it!
We now understand things like microclimates, which can be influenced by things as seemingly minor as the heat rising off a big asphalt parking lot or reflecting off the side of a building. We know about sea breeze fronts, and why the little cumulus clouds over the Gulf Stream in the morning often spawn waterspouts. We even follow the pregnancies of the ladies on the Weather Channel and send them baby gifts! Weather forecasting is a multi-billion-dollar business, and understandably so. Nothing affects us more, on a daily basis–our food production; highway safety; air travel; bad hair days…. Nonetheless, we mostly take weather for granted, generally noticing it only when it interferes with our lives in some small way.
Except for us nuts. We know that the best spot on the net for weather coverage is Weather Underground. We have links on our browsers to meteorological services and the local doppler RADAR, and little thingies on our desks that keep track of what’s happening outdoors via radio (much more scientific than looking out the window). We get all excited when NOAA launches a new satellite.
We probably need to get a life, but we love it.
Here’s a poem I wrote about weather nuts:
Well, I could spin you tales of troughs aloft
How masses move between the poles and doldrums
Regale you with the intricacies of
The Polar High, La Niña and El Niño
Oh, you’d be fascinated by the way
The air flows along isobar and boundary
And how the cold fronts form when air slides under
The humid masses moving from the tropics
Or we could step outside and close our eyes
And be the wind