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Subject: Mumbo Jumbo for September
Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Time: 6:29:21 AM
Remote Address: 220.127.116.11
Message ID: 320707
Parent ID: 0
Thread ID: 320707
Being the Weatherman
I have noted a few times here (but just a bit) throughout the years about my connection to the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) and my work that I do for them. My official work with the service is being a Coop Weather Observer and spotter. ďCoopĒ (pronounced ďco-opĒ) stands for ďCooperative Observer ProgramĒ. This NOAA Cooperative Observer Program is a citizen weather observer network run by the NWS and National Centers for Environmental Information and has over 8,000 volunteers from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Itís not the same as being a weather spotter, something that pretty much anybody can sign up for. To be a Coop observer one must be trained directly by the NWS and approved by the NWS to take on this job, along with receiving updated training every few years. Our main job is to be the official weather taker of local weather records for cities and towns that have no official government weather offices in their area. That means - most towns in America, including many big cities. So, when you hear over the radio that ďa record high was reached in [your town] todayĒ, that weather info (unless your city is one of the few that has an NWS office in it), was taken and recorded by a Coop Weather Observer. You get some cool kickbacks with this volunteer work, like an official government owned weather station set up in your backyard by a government meteorologist, which the NWS maintains once a year for you, and this station is where the observer gets all of their weather readings from. If youíre a weather bluff like myself, this is a heaven job that you love doing, and you got to love doing it Ė since you must work at this job 7 days a week, 365 days a year, while not making a dime! Yes, there arenít too many folks who can claim they perform volunteer work for their community 365 days a year, but we Coop people can! I find that when I work at something that I love to do, well, I donít mind it at all. Plus, if one takes a vacation and will be away for say a week or 2, itís our job to find a person to temporarily fill-in for us. For me itís my oldest daughter Jackie and or her son, my youngest grandson, Cooper.
But just how did I start off doing all of this? Well, I have to back up, like well over 60 years, back when I was a small boy who was born with this inner love for the weather. This is not unusual at all, and most weather bluffs who I know all have the same kind of story to tell Ė that we were into the weather ever since we can recall being alive. For me, I always had a sixth sense for the weather, I canít ever not remember being into knowing what the forecast was and begging my mother as a 5-year-old to buy me weather equipment. As my mother used to tell others about me, when I was about 4 years old or so, I wanted to talk about the weather to whoever would listen, and I would watch the 3 different weather reports shown every night on the 6 pm TV news. That was more important to me than watching cartoons. There was no Weather Channel on TV back when I was a boy, just the 3 different weatherpersons on TV giving their forecasts twice a day, once on the 6PM local early news, and then again on the 11pm late news. But at ages 4 thru 6 I wasnít allowed to stay up to watch the late-night reports. But even without seeing a forecast on TV, I would tell my parents (this happened more than once) that a big storm was going to hit, and sure enough a big storm would hit. My parents couldnít understand how I knew this, and as I grew older, I couldnít totally understand how this feeling inside of me worked either, although hearing the weather report helped. Yet I was also good in predicting the opposite, too. Sometimes a storm would be forecasted to hit the NYC area where I lived, like a snowstorm, and I would tell my parent that no, it wasnít going to happen, that only a small snowfall would take place, and Iíd be right! Itís funny, since I never, ever believed in psychic feelings that some people claim to hold. I felt for years, well into my adulthood, that such people were full of themselves, until my wife one day pointed it out to me that when it came to the weather, I was a weather psychic. She, along with my parents, were right, as I was/am a weather psychic, but one who just refused to believe it, even when that feeling inside of me told me I was. Could this form of telepathy I seemed to have be real? Well, I never believed it, not until I had to face the reality of it being inside of me Ė and that being on a totally different level out side of the weather. While whatever this feeling inside of me is that makes me connect with the weather around me, it never manifested itself in any other form, other than twice. About 20 years apart, dealing with the death of loved ones who were thousands of miles away from me - while they were dying Ė and somehow, they called on me in this strange matter. When it happened the second time, when my father was in a coma on his death bed, well, I had no choice but to realize something strange indeed did happened to me, now twice. Yet a similar feeling happens often when dealing with weather events, and this weather-related thing has been happening to me since I was a boy.
Now donít get me wrong, Iím not saying I have psychic powers inside me that can predict the weather every day. But there is something that only sometimes seems to make me feel weather events that might happen. Have these feelings always been right? Iím sure the answer to that is no, yet I canít recall that for sure, since when you get something wrong you Ė well, at least I, forget about that fact. Itís the ones that I get right that I remember, and yes, thereís been times when I predicted storms that werenít supposed to be big, that I knew would be big, and sure enough, in the end they were. It wasnít until I was around 12 that I realized this happened way too often to me and it was then when I would share my feelings with others.
But as a boy I knew these feelings for the weather were almost a bit too overwhelming. I received my first weather equipment when I was about 7 or 8 years old, when my mom bought me a Airguide 3 in one weather console that I still have to this very day (it sits on the top of a bookcase directly across from my computer). Itís a dial instrument unit, consisting of a thermometer, barometer, and hygrometer. For the most part, most of it still works today, other than the thermometer always reads about 2 degrees too warm, the hygrometer is always way off, and while the old barometer still works like clockwork as far as it rising and falling exactly when it should be, I canít adjust it anymore to where itís reading is correct, as the little screw inside of it where you adjust the reading, broke off about 20 years ago. But this unit was my first weather equipment, and soon after that I got mom to buy me an inside/outside thermometer. When I was about 10, I had this book that showed you how to build a rain gauge using a empty coffee can that you taped a ruler to its inside, and then with a bunch of 2 by fours, it showed how to build a 5 foot stand for it to sit on, and where in your yard to place it. I was never the kind of kid who built things, but this was something I wanted bad and I did a good job putting it together, and at that time, was when I first started to take weather records and became a weather spotter on Long Island. At the time I was the youngest weather spotter for the local NWS office. They were so impressed with my reporting that when I was 11, I got a personal tour of the local weather station. For me it was a dream come true just getting to go to a real weather office and see a real official weather station, and then get to talk to real meteorologists most of whom were also crazy about the weather, like myself!
Shortly after that, my mother finally realized this love for the weather wasnít something I was going to outgrow, so for Xmas that year she got me my very first fully equipped home weather station! Home stations were very different back in the mid-1960s, of course nothing was digitalized yet, and the old mercury thermometers were still being used. The anemometer (what you measure wind speed with) that came with my station back then, well its inside component sat on this cardboard like box. On the top of the box was a compass that had six small LED lights sticking out of it that blinked on and off. They lit up to not only tell you what direction the wind was coming out of, but by how fast they blinked, you could calibrate how fast the wind speed was. LED lights were brand new back then and I had never seen anything like them before, and the fact they were a part of my anemometer made them seem even cooler. But to say the least, you really had to be a weather nut to be into this stuff and even understand how the instruments worked. What I never realized was that I was a preteen novice scientist and it was as if I was born to be one, well, in the science of meteorology anyway. Itís like all of that knowledge and zest for this field was born within me. Today I even get to teach it a bit to others, it takes no time at all when I train a local spotter on say - how to convert snow into a liquid state so the snowís liquid content can be measured. That can confuse some when you first learn that, but I love to show people how itís really not that hard a thing to do, and once you know how to do that, itís easy work, really, that is, as long as you got snow to work with when you teach it to somebody else!
So why didnít I ever become a real meteorologist? Well, two main reasons. First, thereís lots of schooling involved, at a minimum you have to have a Master's Degree to be a meteorologist (and many meteorologists have a Ph. D.) and well, I always flat out hated school! Second, I started my family at too young an age. Not that I planned to do that, but itís how things worked out, and while my dad went to school and got his Master's Degree while already married and raising my two older sisters, that was he and not me! I found that right after high school, having a child at 19 while working fulltime was too much for me to handle; so the hell with also going to school for six more years on top of that. Plus, I guess a third thing also got in my way, that being that I was a stoner. Back in those days I loved smoking weed all day long, and I love doing that as much as I loved being a weather enthusiastic. But the two didnít really mix at all, as most meteorologists are totally straight. But with me, I was always different when it came to everything in life it seemed, and while being a stoner who loved meteorology was a very rare thing indeed, it was exactly who I was and what I was into. To this day, while I still like a hit of mother nature while I study mother nature, Iím not a stoner anymore, either.
So today as an old man, Iím still into the weather big time. Iím not only the town of Crestone Coloradoís official Coop observer, but Iím also the official weatherman here. I actually have 3 separate weather stations in my backyard. One is the NWSís station, and the other 2 are mine; my current online station, and then the old station that used to be online many years ago and is a backup today in case the current online one breaks down. I am still crazy about weather equipment, heck, a few days ago I bought 3 new indoor digital thermometers to replace some older ones I have. These new ones show the highs and lows for the day that the old ones that they will replace donít show. I have 10 rooms in my home - plus a 30-foot tall weather tower attached to the house, along with an attached garage, and every room along with the garage, has its own thermometer in it, other than my master bedroom, which has 4 of them. Then outside, beside the 3 thermometers on the 3 weather stations, I have another 4 thermometers located in other outside spots. Why so many? I have no clue, other than when you are addicted to something, wellÖ you know how addiction works, right?
Living in a small town in the middle of nowhere, with the nearest NWS office over 3 hours away from here, well my online weather station is very popular indeed to the locals. In fact, itís the busiest website in the entire county! It also brings in a decent, steady monthly income too, just a bit less than my Colorado Cams site brings in. This former Stones Gasland message board that you are reading at the moment Ė which back when it was still a Stones board - was the busiest Stones board on the web for years, and the top page viewer on my domain. But while it made a name for me in the Stones internet world, it was never, ever, a money maker, whereas my weather page (and even more so the cam site) always has. The 3 main internet and computer companies here in town, all tell me the same story Ė ďWhenever we work on peopleís computers or on their internet service, their computerís home page is your weather site, 99% of the time!. That does warm my heart, and with me not only being the local weatherman, but also the second longest newspaper reporter who still writes for the Eagle newspaper (a monthly paper), well Iím a local celebrity here in Crestone Ė even if I never wanted to be that - and to be honest, I hate being that! Iíve never been a showoff type of person. Iím nothing but an old hippie, living in a hippie town, who rather lay low. While I did retire being one of the main reporters for the local paper about 3, 4 years ago, I still write the weather column in the paper for every issue, and I havenít missed writing that column in a single issue since early 2003.
I also like how those who are weather crazy (and not even locals) get ahold of me often and write me interesting emails about their love for the weather. But, is it true that people both love and hate the weatherman? Yep, but itís mainly just love. Right now, I have 7 local spotters who report to me (and not to the NWS). I also give tours of the station to folks who live around here. Plus with our 2 different schools here in and around town (one, in town, our far out charter school - called the ďCrestone-Hogwarts Hippie AcademyĒ by locals, along with the other more normal public school, located not too far away in Moffat, and both being K thru 12), they take turns each year in bringing the elementary 4th grade kids over here for a tour of the weather station. I see when the kids get here that perhaps I should have been a school teacher myself, since, not only with the kids, but when the adults come here too for a tour and weather lesson, I know how to do the teacher thing very well.
But with all of the love the weather and my community gives me, when a forecast does go wrong (and living in one of the hardest places on Earth to forecast for, I do get it wrong once in a blue moon, no matter how much a weather psychic I might be), the locals will dish it out to me a bit when that happens. Itís something all weather persons have to deal with, as it just comes with the job!
My weather station's old Anemometer
It's still out there today, but I have a new one now located up above it
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