Growing up in the Midwest I thought I had a pretty good grasp on common weather terminology. I was exposed to extreme heat, frigid cold, droughts, tornadoes, blizzards, you name it anyone from the Midwest has seen it (maybe not a hurricane). It was only when I married a weatherman meteorologist that I quickly learned I wasn’t as savvy as I thought I was when it came to weather terminology.  Let’s begin with the first big ‘no-no’ I learned:

The Fujita Scale aka the Tornado Damage Scale:

I grew up referring to tornadoes as an F1, F2, F3, F4, and the biggest was an F5. This was tornado 101 and hasn’t changed for me since I first learned it. While I haven’t personally been exposed to a big tornado, I’ve seen my fair share of green, creepy skies, downed telephone poles, trees in the middle of the road, and home damage. Well silly me, I didn’t get the memo that the Fujita Scale had updated itself in 2007. Aaron is always quick to correct me every time I refer to a tornado as an ‘F#’. I’ll be asking an innocent question to our Oklahoman friends asking about the Moore tornado, or any other infamous tornado, and ask them if it was an ‘F5’ and I’ll hear Aaron mumble and correct me in the middle of my sentence, “it’s EF5.” Now, I’m not sure if people around me can hear him say this because he acts like a frickin’ ninja with it, but to me it’s like he’s the annoying mosquito in my ear just waiting to interject the “E” in the new and enhanced “EF” scale. It’s almost like Milton from the movie “Office Space”, “Um, excuse me, it’s EF# now, not F#.” – I think I’ll just keep referring to it as an ‘F#’ to see how refined I can get his ninja skills to me in correcting me.

Lightning vs. Lightening:

Can you tell me which is the right way of referring to the bolt that comes out of the sky? Auto correct won’t tell you as they are both correctly spelled and have their own meanings. I have learned the correct version of this word thanks to Aaron encouraging me to look up both meanings in the dictionary, and unlike the Fujita Scale, I am happy to begin referring and spelling the correct version of this one immediately:

o   light·ning noun

  • The occurrence of a natural electrical discharge of very short duration and high voltage between a cloud and the ground or within a cloud, accompanied by a bright flash and typically also thunder. “A tremendous flash of lightning.”

o   light·en·ing noun

  • A drop in the level of the uterus during the last weeks of pregnancy as the head of the fetus engages in the pelvis.

lightning vs lightening

You will now know the difference of lightning and lightening forever, you are welcome…

Monsoon vs. Monsoon Season:

After moving from Illinois to Arizona both Aaron and I got to experience monsoon season. Well, we thought it was monsoon season. It’s actually just referenced as monsoon. Monsoon is a season, so when you say it’s ‘monsoon season’ you’re actually just saying, “hey, it’s season season!” Regardless, it’s always nice when Arizona is in monsoon as it will make the temperature drop dramatically and you finally get some relief from the heat!

Weatherman vs. Meteorologist:

If you have read the past few blog posts you may keep noticing that when I refer to Aaron, or the title of my blog, I keep crossing out the word weatherman when I refer to meteorologist. This is because my husband is a meteorologist and NOT a weatherman! There is a difference in terms and in education. A Meteorologist is a scientist who is required to have a degree related to physics, mathematics, engineering, chemistry, atmospheric science, or related science fields. A TV weatherman is not required to have this level of education and usually have a major in Journalism/Communications (in a nutshell, they report the information given to them by Meteorologists). Aaron majored in Meteorology with a minor in Mathematics and Communications and was one class away from a triple minor including Engineering and is certified by the American Meteorological Society (in a nutshell, he really knows this weather stuff). Now that you know the difference, you know that no where on the following graph does it reference a Meteorologist:


So now I hope that you never experience a weatherman reporting an F2 damage caused by a lightening hit during monsoon season =)