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Confessions of a weather fanatic

By Trish Turner


 I am a self-confessed weather fanatic. Changes in weather have fascinated me ever since I was a little girl living in southern New Hampshire. When it was summer, I couldn't wait for the heat to subside and it cooled off enough to wear sweaters in the fall. Likewise, I couldn't wait for all the snow to melt in winter. I liked to feel the hint of a warm spring breeze when I could enjoy looking at the flowers that were peeping out from under their winter blanket.

 I was in eighth grade when we learned in science class about the four main types of clouds that are associated with weather. Cirrus clouds are the wispy clouds high in the sky, that along with a blue sky can guarantee that it will be a nice day. My favorite are cumulus clouds which are like big, puffy cotton balls and can sometimes build high up into the sky. When they have a gray bottom, rain is usually in the forecast, and If they are totally gray you can be sure it will rain. If you see a mass of clouds covering the sky like a fluffy blanket they are stratus clouds. When it is a warm day the presence of these clouds mean it will rain, and if it is a cold day then it will most likely snow. When these clouds get very low to the ground, they will become fog. Nimbus clouds are the type you see just before or during a rain storm. When you see them in the distance you can often see a sheet of rain falling from them.

 Through the years, I have heard many old sayings repeated that are related to weather. One of my favorites is Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor take warning. Apparently this old adage has been around for thousands of years because Jesus even referenced it in Matthew 16:2-3, "When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’..." As a child, when I was upset because it was raining and I could not go outside to play, my mother would try to cheer me up and by telling me to "look for enough blue to make a Dutchman's breeches." The theory there, I suppose, was if the sky became more blue it meant the rain clouds were going away.

 However interesting these old sayings are, my main fascination with weather are the predictions made by meteorologists. I can't seem to be able to plan my weekly activities without checking the weather apps on my phone. I don't just have one weather app, I have four; including one that just shows a radar so I can see incoming rain systems.

 The other three apps all seem to differ slightly, so my go-to place for the ultimate weather outlook is a meteorologist. Ben Pine is the chief meteorologist for WHAS11-TV in Louisville. He has a Facebook Live program around 9:45 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday evenings. While he is broadcasting on Facebook you can type in questions that he will answer live, and he will give you a shout out. It is cool to hear him say things like, "Trish Turner from Payneville says they had quite a downpour there today."

 When I lived in Florida my obsession with wanting to know what the weather would be like hit a fever pitch during hurricane season. Anytime a tropical storm neared the coast of Florida I was on edge. I went into high gear checking the weather reports on radio and TV (I didn't have a Smart phone then). I wanted to prepare my home ahead of time for an incoming storm, and be ready to evacuate if need be. Fortunately, no major storms ever hit the areas where I was living.

 One evening in 1998, when we lived near Orlando, I was watching the 11:00 p.m. news and the top story was about a tornado that had hit about 20 miles from our home. They were predicting that it could touch down again and it was headed in our direction. I ran outside and looked up at the sky. The clouds looked like they were boiling, such as you would see in a movie. It was rather creepy. We were fortunate that the storm passed over us. About 20 miles further from us it actually did touch down again and wreaked havoc. Severe weather is nothing to take lightly. Nowadays our cell phones alert us when there is a possible tornado, and I take it seriously.

 So, if you see me around town and want to know what the weather will be like for the next few days, just ask me. I will have checked all my weather apps and come to a conclusion. However, as you well know, not all weather forecasts are accurate.

 I will also be looking up to the sky figuring out what clouds are above, and perhaps looking for enough blue to make a Dutchman's pants!


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