We’re pretty fortunate in Australia that we have some excellent weather reporting services – primarily our Bureau of Meteorology and Weather Zone. I’ve been waiting for both these services to ban me for visiting their sites too frequently.
Sure, the forecasts are sometimes wrong, but having data on conditions reported in pretty much real time allows you to figure out what is about to happen in your immediate area, often before warnings are issued.
The various radar imagery and charts have been invaluable to me when out in the boonies – there have been a couple of times in the last year they’ve saved me from getting soaking wet, bogged or worse.
It really annoys me when news services report on weather events or warn of upcoming possible severe weather where in the comment threads are often blurbs from folks like ‘it’s weather, big deal’.
It *is* a big deal – I’m sure folks in tornado prone areas would agree with that.
Weather can be very exciting, although sometimes downright frightening. I remember a year or so ago seeing a nasty patch of black on the radar and on looking outside seeing a bowl cloud; which I understand to be a precursor for a tornado – and I’m not in a tornado zone. One didn’t form, but if it had, Niki the Wonder Dog and I may have been toast without that warning. With it, we would have stood a chance.
Seeing that cloud mass swirling and other clouds being sucked up into it is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Actually, some of my most vivid memories are of weather related events; particularly from my days working in the fishing and oyster farming industry.
Recently, the weather report for my area indicated it wasn’t going to be much of a day, but nothing drastic. I happened to be looking at the radar and spotted a tiny storm cell forming, headed straight for me. The heads up gave me enough time to batten down the hatches and avoid damage from the winds that followed – winds that folks just a few kilometres away didn’t get.
Anyway, the wonderful thing about the increased availability of weather data, interest in and media reporting on weather is it helps people connect with nature; to appreciate its potential as a friend or adversary.
Sometimes we spend much of our days going from one climate controlled environment to another – the home, to the car and to work. That feeling of control over our environment is a little dangerous; particularly in this era of climate change where severe weather events will become more regular and more devastating.
The folks leaving the “big deal” comments may one day learn how big a deal it is. A taste of nature’s fury can change your life forever… assuming you survive it.