If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me ‘what is the weather going to be today?’ I’d literally have tens of dollars. But, it is a reality I am faced with with every severe weather season and with any threat of moisture that comes out of the sky. I suddenly become everyone’s go-to person because I am married to the
weatherman meteorologist. It’s like they think I am privy to secret weather information; that I’ll be able to tell them the exact time, wind speed, accumulation, etc. that will hit their house that day.
April and May in Oklahoma are my least favorite months for various reasons, including:
- I don’t see my husband
- There is no such thing as a schedule (see previous blog here.)
- I suddenly need to act as media spokesman for the friends and co-workers to educate everyone on what to expect for weather events that day/week.
- My phone blows up with “Is there going to be a tornado?” “Do I need to seek shelter?”
But what you don’t know is on severe weather outbreak days my husband is doing 12-15+ hour long days, prepping, chasing, forecasting, phoning into the station, working behind the scenes literally answering all the questions viewers want to know. There is no time for him to tell the storm “hold on so I can text my wife and let her know what the weather is in her backyard.” From me to you, I might hear from him once or twice on a severe weather day simply as a status update, otherwise I have to watch the news just like everyone else.
My advice to you is, turn on the news, the
weathermen meteorologists will give you the most accurate information and will break it down by the minute and literally tell you if it’s going to hit your house or not. The behind the scenes action is incredible on severe weather days. While you see one to two weatherman meteorologists on air, there are double to triple the people behind the green screen, looking at new models coming in, getting viewer photos to share, communicating with the chasers, creating new graphics, etc. Then you have all the storm chasers out on the road following every single major storm cell to inform the viewers exactly where it is and where it is going. All 3 major stations in Oklahoma City have helicopter pilots that are on the storm to provide a birds-eye-view of what the storm is acting like. And all of that are only the storm teams! This doesn’t even go into the newsroom and all the reporters and anchors and what they are putting together to inform everyone what’s happened when a storm blows through.
I’ve asked Aaron if he could so kindly take a break to text me if a tornado is headed towards our neighborhood, or at least give me a personal shout-out on air, he said he could do that, so to any friends we have in the surrounding area, I will do my best to text you personally if there is a need to worry. But again, my advice to you is be prepared. Have your storm shelter ready, or have a safe room to go to in your home, don’t go driving around running errands if you know a storm is headed your way, have a weather radio, download your favorite local station’s weather apps, and tune in to the local channels see exactly what’s happening.
I’m sure at this point, you have been with your significant other on a date night, their phone makes a noise so they open it to take a look, you roll your eyes because they shouldn’t be looking at it in the first place, you ask them to put it down, and you move on with your night. I don’t get this luxury. When a
weatherman’s Meteorologists phone goes off, no matter what occasion it is, they legitimately have to look at it.
Aaron literally has too many weather apps to count on his phone (OK, whatever, I counted 11; but still, you get my point). There is one for radar, one for the Mesonet, one for the NWS (National Weather Service), and some other really nerdy ones that don’t even make sense to me when he opens them. Regardless, he needs to look at his phone for incoming storms to know if he has to book it into work or if he needs to post something on social media so his viewing audience knows what is about to happen.
Besides Aaron looking at his phone all the time, we also can’t do normal activities without weather being brought up. We went to an OKC Thunder game the other night and verbatim he asks me, “Why do you think they didn’t play with the whole “Thunder” word more with the logo? Don’t you think it would look cool if they had a
lightening lightning bolt in it?” My answer to him was, “Because they wanted to be a classy team and a lightening lightning bolt would be corny.”
Not only did we have to discuss the lack of a
lightening lightning bolt being on their logo, but he also had to analyze the fact that the Chesapeake Arena would not be an ideal building to be in during a tornado. In case you were wondering the fact that it’s a big, steel building that fits 20,000+ people is what makes it unfit to be in during a tornado.
oh yea, we also had to talk about the impending doom of a tornado hitting the city. “It’s not if, but when.”
Now that you are thoroughly scared that a tornado will inevitably hit OKC, I can tell you the fact that I couldn’t even go through my wedding day without hearing about the weather. Yup, we had an entire table at our venue, actually, 2 tables now that I think about it, filled with
weathermen meteorologists. To say that they all share a special bond wouldn’t express the amount of “brotherhood” these guys share with one another. There was an impromptu karaoke song that broke out in the middle of the reception where the Beach Boys song “Kokomo” came on. In our hometown of Rockford, Illinois the weatherman Meteorologists made a parody of “Kokomo” by inserting local counties into the lyrics “Way down in Winnebago.” (Shout out to Mark Henderson <WIFR> and Eric Sorenson <WQAD> for writing the lyrics and blessing my wedding day with the following:
“…baby why don’t we go down to Marengo we’ll get there fast and then we’ll pay a toll, that’s where I wanna go, way down to Winnebago.”
Fun times? Yes. Weather related? Absolutely. Do I expect to hear about weather on a daily basis? Unfortunately.
These are just a few days in the life of being a wife of a
weatherman Meteorologist. On a day-to-day basis I talk about weather more than any other person naturally would, but I still have to ask my friends and co-workers what the weather is going to be that day because when Aaron tells me it honestly goes in one ear and out the other because I’m unsure of when I actually need to listen 😉 You can’t blame me though because I literally can’t go one day without talking about the weather.
Anyone who moves around a lot understands the angst of having to start all over again in a new city. You have to find a new grocery store, a new gym, meet new neighbors, find a vet, new doctors, find new jobs, meet new co-workers, the list of ‘new things’ goes on and on.
It was only natural for me to go visit the new station Aaron was working at, KFOR Channel 4; I had to see the new weather-lab, newsroom, meet the new co-workers, see Reed Timmer’s 4 Warn-Dominator 4 vehicle, and of course see the station helicopter.
This is the biggest market Aaron and I have been in as far as TV market size goes, so it was a lot of fun to see a ‘big’ studio, actually they have two studios thanks to KFOR’s sister station KAUT. We had never had a dedicated ‘storm chasing’ vehicle nor a helicopter in our other TV markets, so I definitely had to see those. Not only does the station have the Dominator and helicopter, but they also have commercials dedicated to promoting the Dominator 4 and Bob Moore Chopper 4! I had seen so many commercials featuring Bob Moore Chopper 4 and Reed Timmer’s Dominator 4 leading up to my visit, that I was going to really ‘wow’ those two guys when I met them. I was going to be cool, calm, and collected; I couldn’t be too excited to meet them, but I also didn’t want to seem too uninterested; it was a fine line I had to walk as Aaron would be working with them for a while. First impressions always mean the most.
Before I continue, please feel free to watch the promo commercials for both Dominator 4 and Chopper 4:
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.
Many people keep asking me, “How did you meet
the weatherman Aaron?” Well, there were a few steps to us meeting:
1. We went to the same grade school
2. We went to the same high school (I was a grade above him), we never spoke in grade school or high school; but school was pretty small, so we did know each others name.
3. We went off to college and eventually both interned at the same TV station in Rockford, IL. I was a news reporter intern while he interned in weather (both during separate semesters).
4. Because of us going to the same high school and interning at the same TV station, we became Facebook friends. We still debate who ‘friended’ who, but we both decided to meet up at a classy joint in Rockford (RBI) to talk over a few beers about our experience as interns.
5. And that my friends, is the romantic story of how we met.
The part of the story you may be forgetting, and may be curious about, is how I did as an intern and why I am not in news reporting today. Continue reading