A Piece of My Day

A Piece of Tuesday, 24 August 2010…

Posted on: Tuesday, 24 August 2010


Not even as hot as it got today...

That, my friends, is a picture of the temperature in downtown Austin at 2:24pm, which, as many of you know, is not even the hottest time of day. The temperature topped out later at 107 (insert “UGH!” here).

Some of you who know me know that I am a weather fan…OK…maybe “fanatic” is a better term. I think it goes back to when I was younger and growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas. There was a meteorologist on Channel 4 named Tom Bonner and, I guess when I was growing up, I had quite the fascination with him.  By the time I hit upper elementary school, I wanted to be a meteorologist myself.

By the time I was in upper elementary school, we had lived in Austin for several years. During our time there, we narrowly escaped being hit by a tornado when we lived about a half mile away from the “old airport” (Mueller near central Austin), which had damage from that tornado. I remember the green skies, the stillness, and the troubled looks on the faces of my family as we took tornado precautions – which, at that time, included opening every window in the house so that the shift in barometric pressure didn’t blow the house up. (Yes, really.)

After Austin, we lived in Houston, which meant we moved into the Gulf Coast realm of hurricane preparedness. Every year we’d get our hurricane tracking maps from the grocery store and track the storms, even if they were nowhere nearby. Tracking storms taught me about latitude and longitude, and places far away from my own home, and people living elsewhere whose homes and lives were devastated by hurricanes.

My fascination with being a meteorologist lasted until middle school, when I realized that in order to become a meteorologist, I’d have to learn science, and I learned that science wasn’t something I really cared to learn that much. As I continued to live in Houston, and continued to monitor hurricane seasons and weird Houston ice storms (!), my fascination with weather continued. The advent of the Weather Channel meant that I could watch and learn about weather patterns in an informal way.

My mom was a weather junkie, too, especially after she and my stepdad moved to the Northeast. When I was visiting for Christmas, Mom and I spent hours glued to the Weather Channel if a big winter storm was on its way (or hitting) – a shared activity which my stepdad used to laugh about. I guess part of why my fascination with weather has continued into adulthood is that I have so many memories which relate to the weather, and when there is some weather event, I am usually glued to the TV to see what’s going on.

One Big Weather Event Mom and I watched together was a crazy mid-February winter storm which hit Central Texas the day before my wedding. We watched the radar in disbelief as the pinks and whites spread over the very areas of Texas over which much of my wedding party would be traveling to get to Austin for the wedding. And my future in-laws (also from the Northeast) watched in amazement as Austin set up an Emergency Command Center to monitor what is now called the Valentine’s Day Winter Storm. (The next day, the day of our wedding, it was in the 60’s and gorgeous!)

It has been fascinating to introduce Hubby S, who was born and raised very firmly NOT in Tornado Alley (i.e., Massachusetts), to the intricacies of weather in Texas. He used to like seeing all the pretty colors on the radar, until I told him that really, dark purple on the radar is indicative of some scary stuff approaching. Until he had a smart phone, he’d call me in the middle of the day to ask how long a storm cell was going to be over their heads wherever they happened to be working. And during a recent Severe Weather Season (i.e., Spring), I put Hubby and Max into the laundry room with pillows and blankets when a tornado cell seemed to be making a beeline for our neighborhood, while I watched the radar and the sky until the cell dissipated.

I took a picture of the temperature today because the Austin media is all a-twitter about what the meteorologists have the audacity to call a “cold front” which will be sweeping in tomorrow sometime. Do not be mistaken. This will not be a famous “Blue Norther” which drops the temps about 40 degrees in an hour. Our highs will go from the mid-100’s to the mid-90’s. But, as I said on my Facebook status today – I’ll take it!

A cold front means a good chance of needed rain in addition to the cooler temps. A cold front means winds from the north, rather than off the Gulf. A cold front in August means that there will be more cold fronts coming, in September, and October, and on, and on. A cold front means that my favorite season – Fall – is not too far out of reach.

So, while I roll my eyes at the term “cold front,” I can tell you that tomorrow, as the front approaches, I’ll be checking the radar often for storms and opening the Weather Channel app on my phone to watch for the wind shift. I can tell you that tomorrow, I’ll be letting Max out to sniff that north wind and all it brings – and I’ll probably be out there sniffing the wind along with him.

Peace – and God’s wind of life – be upon your night!



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