If I hadn’t ended up a writer, I could have been a weatherman. Better yet a weatherperson. Although the profession never did make the list of my brilliant career.
What appeals to me is the careful blending of weather data, facts, and analysis with the creative presentation of the weather report. What to leave in and out. How to make the dull day interesting, the horrific day not so apocalyptic. Knowing what matters to the audience: the temperature, precipitation probability, wind speed.
Right now I’m tracking the weather in Birmingham. The entire area is under threat for severe storms and tornadoes throughout the night. As of this writing, several have passed through. There’s a lull now, but more are forecast for later. It’s like you know at some point, late in the night, the artillery will start up and you’ll stay huddled in your foxhole.
I might have a weatherperson temperament: seemingly confident in my forecast, yet still end up wrong about half the time. I also I admire the weatherperson on the front lines. Bravely reporting on the conditions we could all see as viewers:
“Folks, that is rain driven by Category 4 hurricane force winds lashing my face.”
“This full-body-uncontrolled shiver that you’re seeing now is what you get in minus 40 degree wind chills.”
“If you’ll notice, I’ve chained myself to this lamppost so as not to be blown away.”
I’ve seen weatherpersons lean into blizzards, snarl in the face of hurricanes, lick their lips in desert drought conditions. But I’ve never seen one of them stand up to a tornado bearing down. But I would do it. I would face the funnel if I could alter the course of the storm.
Which reminds me. It’s time to check the Birmingham weather. I’ve got three weather apps open. There are alerts, there are warnings. Update coming later.