I've always been a weather geek. Now I'm an official weather geek.
Last week I went to storm spotter training held by the National Weather Service. After two hours of watching videos and studying pictures, I probably know just enough to be dangerous. In other words, I need some thunderstorms to practice on!
As a spotter, the National Weather Service can call me to get real-time reports of what's going on if their radar indicates nasty weather in the area. Or I can call them. Honestly, if it's THAT nasty, I'll be hiding in the basement and won't have a clue.
This photo is from the June 29, 1998, straight line wind storm that leveled a lot of our farm. That's the Farmer on the far left and the Farmer's dad on the far right. They're walking on what's left of our cattle and hay barn. This was the event that really triggered my interest in severe weather. Until then, severe weather was something that happened somewhere else, to other people.Here are a few ways to tell if you are a weather geek:
• You check the hazardous weather outlooks from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., before you say good morning to your spouse.
• You have an all-hazards weather radio.
• You have more than one all-hazards weather radio.
• Your favorite TV meteorologist is the one who has the storm-tracking technology that produces the prettiest color graphics.
• You never, EVER complain when meteorologists interrupt a TV show for severe weather coverage. In fact, you like it. A lot.
• You know the difference between a wall cloud and a shelf cloud.
• You love watching Internet video of storm chasers who get a little too close to their goal, although you would never do such a damn fool thing.
• You get an adrenaline rush when you hear, "A tornado warning has been issued . . ."
• You have actually stood outside, watching the sky and muttering, "Rotation? No rotation?"
• Your copy of the NWS "Basic Spotter's Field Guide" is always close at hand.
• You know the difference between a funnel cloud and a tornado.
• You get a buzz when the hazardous weather outlook map has your part of the state outlined in red.
• You've ever "shushed" your spouse, boss, co-workers or friends for talking during a weather forecast.
• You have the NWS on speed dial for making storm spotter reports.
• You wish you'd taken Meteorology 101 during college. Maybe you would have pursued a different career path.
• You remember meteorologists have to take a lot of math and physics courses and decide you are happy with the career path you chose.
• You are disappointed when the weather isn't "doing" anything.
• You dream about actually seeing a tornado some day, but only one that isn't causing major damage or hurting anyone.
• You have packed an emergency kit in your basement, complete with water, medicine, batteries, flashlights, blankets and non-perishable food.
• You have eaten all the Snickers out of your emergency kit.
• When you talk in your sleep, you mumble things like "Squall line," "Supercells!" and "Take cover immediately."
• Your spouse thinks you are mildly insane (this is not the first time).
• You can't wait for spring to get here so you can enjoy the first good, old-fashioned thunderstorm of the season.