"An obsession with weather"

Blame it all on TLC and Discovery. :lol:

If Twister brought out the "yahoo" chasers, then TLC and Discovery likely share the blame for bringing us geeky folks into weather related stuff. Had the Nova special not aired in the 80's and the A&E special called "The Stormchasers" in the early 90's, the TLC/Discovery programming over the past 5 or 6 years would have most definately sparked that interest. As it was, I was already addicted.

Fortunately, I was always intimidated by advanced algebra and calc, so I chose not to pursue weather as a career, but rather a hobby. So nobody will have to worry about me adding my presence to the chaos. But had I been equipped with a more capable brain, I'm sure I would have ended up at OU or Penn State. And these tv programs would have most definately been an influence.
When people ask me what got me interested in chasing, I can truthfully say 'Twister'. I had always been interested in storms and the weather, but I didnt know that people actually went out looking for severe weather. I think I was 12 or 13 when it came out.
I dont really consider myself a yahoo...
An old video called Twister:Fury on the Plains brought out the weather geek in me, and I just went off from there. I didnt really pay attention to the other stuff that much. Must have watched that video 300+ times. It was certainly entertaining, and not that poorly made for a seemingly low budget "documentary" type film.
I think that article makes a good point about how weather coverage has increased on the local and national news. 20 years ago you'd hardly ever see them talking about the weather on the news outside the normal weather segment. Nowadays just about any rain or snow event is the top story. So I'd have to agree that intense media hype over the weather in recent years is playing a big part in getting more people fascinated in weather as well.
I think that the hobby and storm chasing aspect has definatly increased over the years now. Just by watching the news and programs on tv you can tell that. One thing that you have left out so far is the new weather channels storm stories, that is gaining some huge popularity now. Although this aspect is gaining, I think that the actual professional part of weather is staying steady or slightly rising. This is probably becuase of the tough physics/calc and other tough classes that you must take. The government portion of the weather offices is steady now since it was just reorganized in the past years. The private sector is what is really taking off, all of the research into every aspect of weather is being done. All of these jobs usually requires more then just the 4 year degree which is another reason why the professional side is not increasing like the hobby side.
Well, the big thing that drove my interest was...

Wizard of Oz!

Being a boy 6-8 years old and seeing that tornado in black and white (sound, too!) before the silly munchkins (sp) came out was just awe inspiring.

To me, this is what began my life-long passion for storms. Actually, playing softball also pushed my interest with storms too...but I won't go there!


(Actually, if somebody would twist my arm..I'd explain it, but its pretty geeky)
Definitely true, and Dahktah Cahh's quote made me think back to 1111 last semester when we had people from the private sector come in and talk about all of the new jobs available.

And lets not forget about the new NWC!
I was facinated with weather since I was a toddler. One day when I was four or so (1981?) potent storm blew through my area in the northern burbs of Minneapolis. When I left the Sunday mass the sky was a bright green and the rain was torrential. When I finally made it home I discovered the damage path from a relatively weak tornado that destroyed my neighbor's garage and then crossed into my yard, narrowly missing my house but destoying the dog house in back. Since the dog house had no walls left standing but wasn't swept away, this would rank as an F4 on the dog house scale... sarcasm aside, more like an F1 based on damage to the garage. There were all kinds of strange but minor damage to my house. These included bowed doors, water getting through sealed windows, etc. Even more cool is I could see a narrow area in the field theat was "mowed" down by the twister. Hooked before, and really hooked after. When I was about 9 I would look at the radar and think how cool it would be to drive toward the cells, not realizing that people actually chased this stuff. Adding more fun to the mix was the local high school mascot, the Anoka Tornadoes.
I started during the super outbreak in the 70's. Have studied long and hard. Had a great chase. I hope to keep on for a long time yet.
I think what got me started oddly enough was simply a photo of a tornado from an encyclopedia when I was very little. What further enhanced that was being in the middle of the largest tornado outbreak in Indiana's recorded history on June 2, 1990 (37 total). I was 9 years old at the time. I was watching the TV radar and noticed a suspicious cell and I'd told my mom 'It looks like Bedford is in trouble'. A few minutes later, the south side of Bedford was hit by a F4 tornado. Since then, I haven't been able to get it out of my system.

What I've been wondering for some time now, is if America's weather fixation is just another trend that will become passe, like fondue, and mullets, and the macarena... or is it here to stay?
An Obsession with the weather

I guess I was over 40 years ahead of my time.
I too was deeply in awe with the weather as a toddler.
When I was a little older, in grade school, during lunchtimes at home, I would eagerly wait for the 12:15 pm weather summary - 5 minutes long which was quite significant those days - on WWSW Radio in Pittsburgh.
Also, in the Mid -1960's, Pittsburgh had it's star TV Meteorologist , Joe Denardo, who on Sunday nights would give his weekly weather predictions, complete with the old tear-off weather maps and dark magic markers. Watching him was like seeing a glimpse of Mecca..
In the early 1970's when I was in college. during free time, I would spend hours and hours in the library researching articles over my favorite stuff- lightning and tornadoes. My heart leaped with GLEE when I was able to get a vaguely recognizable xerox picture of a tornado from an article.
When I was 14 back in the days when nobody ever heard of storm chasing in my area, in the summer time after those cold fronts came through and produced crystal blue sky with lowering dewpoints, and way off on the horizon distant snowy castles of thunderheads loomed, it was my dream to go off and meet them and dance among them. If someone told me then that I would actually be physically doing this and taking people with me, I would have been astounded.
Snowstorms have also been a romantic adventure for me since childhood.
One of my earlist weather memories was the March 10, 1986 severe weather/tornado outbreak in the Ohio Valley. A tornado, rated F2, unroofed and severely damaged the apartment complex where my mother's parents live. There was also severe damage at the Greater Cincinnati Int'l Airport (107 mph microburst) where several hangars and the control tower were affected. I don't recall much damage here, but the power was out for a time. The county began sounding the outdoor sirens for all severe thunderstorm warnings soon after that, which always seemed to give me fear and excitement whenever that happened.

The June 2, 1990 tornado outbreak is also a vivid memory from my childhood. I watched those storms on the local radar display all evening. The same storm that produced the Bedford tornado (10 tornadoes total) produced tornadoes into southeast Indiana. I vividly recall seeing frequent lightning from the upper part of that storm even when it was 50 miles way from here (dark outside). It produced a tornado across the northern part of Hamilton county (F4 at one point) and I watched the lightning display as it passed to the north, with the siren running for the tornado warning. The radar display was a bit hard to interpret at the time and we were unsure how close the tornado would come (8 miles). If only I could relive that day at my current age.

I definately thing there is more weather in the news these days. People tend to be very weather engaged...it affects everyone in one way or another every day. My interest has been strong for quite awhile, sometimes blinding. It's something that won't go away once you're "hooked".
I can probably say, as loser-ish as this sounds, that the book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs jumpstarted my interest in meteorology at an early age. I read this book all the time when I lived with my grandmother in Montana in the first grade, and I have a copy of it to this day in Connecticut. Also in Montana, I believe 1997 or 1998, there was a tornado warning issued for Gallatin County, where I was at the time. I would only have been 11 or so at the time, but I remember seeing the red scroll on TWC and telling my mom to come look, but she was on the phone :roll: so that wasn't happenin.