I am a weather geek! I wear that badge with honor. While I am quite the amateur, when I was in graduate school I took a weather and climate course that was just so much fun. But my love of weather, the wilder and crazier the better, didn’t start in grad school. It actually started in the womb.
Let me tell you a little story, one that I did not hear for the first time until I was in my early 30’s.
My mother and father were living off the coast of Florida, my father in the Air Force. About 7 1/2 months into my mother’s pregnancy (with me) a thunderstorm struck hard across the island. In her infinite wisdom my mother got up to close the storm blinds, and as she grabbed the metal chain (not the wooden toggle at the end) the house was struck by lightning.
Now close your eyes and picture this: my mother, 7 1/2 months pregnant, unable to let go of the chain as the electricity from the lightning races through her (did I mention 7 1/2 months pregnant) body. At some point my father knocked her away from the chain and she appeared fine. The next morning when she visited the military doctor, he says, “Why Mrs. Hamilton, the baby is just fine. She’s swimming around in all that fluid.” (Uh, last I heard, fluid is a conductor of electricity.)
Needless to say, within about 24 hours, labor began, and lasted for three weeks. Yup, you better believe it; even then I was one smart cookie. I arrived three weeks early! It was no longer safe in that warm, dark environment. Besides, it was obvious all the excitement was out here, in the real world.
Since then I have chased thunderstorms in California, Maryland, New Jersey and North Carolina, although truth be told I never really had to chase them in NC, they just magically appeared. There is nothing more satisfying than the rumble of thunder and the electric snap of lightning. (I now live in my eco-home of Oregon, where thunderstorms rarely occur, and while I don’t miss the humidity that is such a part of the best thunderstorm environments; heavy sigh…I do love a good thunderstorm….)
Of course it wasn’t until grad school, when I took that weather and climate class that I thought perhaps becoming a meteorologist would be fun. And then I thought about being in grad school, and all the work that would entail to start a new degree, and decided being an amateur was just fine by me. (Although I do still toy with the notion of taking my undergrad work in anthropology and applying it to an ethnographic field study of storm chasers.)
Anyway, for all you amateur (and not so amateur) weather folk out there, if you have a smartphone I highly recommend checking out the Weathermob app. It’s the perfect venue to report your local weather and include photos as well. For now, a little teaser….
Happy weather hunting! (Or just basking in the sun.)
P.S. I am @wldwthrwmn