The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How I got interested in weather... by Dewdrop

OK, so I was having a conversation this morning with a fellow storm chaser about where we got our start.... and that got me thinking I have a story to share there. I have always been a passionate weather geek for as long as I can remember. When I was a young child, ages 6-10, I remember standing on the porch during thunderstorms. My mother would drag me inside kicking and screaming, but I was seriously awe-struck at that young age, absolutely drawn to the storm... meanwhile, my brother dove under the bed hiding from the "light-ling"... literally. My first real memorable event was Hurricane Gloria. I lived on the coast of Boston, well, 6 houses down from the coast, when Hurricane Gloria moved inland and passed over Massachusetts in September 1985. My uncle, whose home faced the beach, was evacuated. We, however, decided to have a hurricane party at the neighbor's house. When it was realized that the worst of the storm was missing us, the kids were given clearance to go outside and play in the wind! I loved it, leaning into the wind, feeling it press against my face. It left a definite impression, and a burning passion for anything weather. According to Wikipedia, Hurricane Gloria ranks as the 13th costliest and the 16th most intense hurricane at time of U.S. landfall this century.

1985 September 27-28-Hurricane Gloria- cat.1/2- first hurricane of significant strength to move inland in southern New England since 1960. Widespread wind damage reported in Conn, RI, and MA, later into coastal NH and Maine. Tree damage in Conn. worst since 1938 and wind losses in RI and eastern Massachusetts considerable to trees, utilities and roofs. Storm still had hurricane force wind gusts into New Brunswick, Canada. ~source
If you leap from there to 1989, on October 1, 1989, my boyfriend and I were sitting at a field watching the skies churn over Rockdale County, where we both lived. What I didn't know at the time is that we were watching a tornadic supercell, which was dropping frequent funnels and exhibiting strong rotation. That storm dropped 2 tornadoes that afternoon, one of which caused damage in the parking lot outside the video store we went to on the opposite side of the field. We had to take shelter inside the adult video room... as a tornado dropped just outside, turning shopping carts into balls of metal and throwing them into cars. Those tornadoes caused extensive damage in my grandparent's neighborhood less than one mile away.
On 10/01/1989, a tornado touched down 2.42 miles from the center of Rockdale County, Georgia. The tornado was rated a category 1 . There were 0 injuries and 0 fatalities. Damages ranged from $50,000-$500,000.

A tornado touched down 5.2 miles from the center of Rockdale County, Georgia. The tornado was rated a category 2 . There were 0 injuries and 0 fatalities. Damages ranged from $50,000-$500,000.
That is a powerful and exciting memory.

Several supercells and amazing skies later, I have sought as much informal training as possible that relates to weather during the past 3 years. I have attended 6 SKYWARN spotter training classes, and I have taken several on-line training classes, earning certificates in several weather related topics. I have been to the northern plains chasing tornadic supercells, experienced outrageous outflow winds/straight line winds, and seen funnel clouds, the end of a tornado and mammatus clouds, wound up under a rotating wall cloud (oops, wrong turn), captured lightning pics, done damage assessment after tornadoes and tropical storms, become certified as a CERT team member, earning a HAM radio license, learned CPR seeing the potential of becoming a first responder (being a storm chaser), started a weather blog and joined a storm chasing team. Heck, I even attended "Chase School"... it was my destiny. Yes, my weather geekiness has grown in leaps and bounds.

Speaking of weather, since I generally ignore Eastern Pacific basin systems, the near Hurricane Andres doesn't do anything for me. There is an area of disturbed weather in the western Gulf of Mexico that all eyes are on for it's slight and unlikely chance of development. If it were to develop to a tropical storm, we would call it Ana. Looking ahead, if we make it to the "W" named tropical cyclone, and it becomes a fish (remains out to sea without impacting land), we could have "a fish called Wanda". :D See, total weather geek.

Have a great day!


  1. Great account, Jenn! It has inspired me to do the same, actually. :) I'll write my "Weather Geek History" sometime today and post it. I guarantee you, it is different!

  2. That is a great story. I would be the one diving under the covers when the light ling comes. :(


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