Tracking the weather is not hard given accurate information

“Weather tonight: dark. Turning partly light by morning.”

—Comedian George Carlin as Al Sleet, the Hippy Dippy Weatherman, 1966

Keeping track of the changing weather in East Texas this spring has kept senior weather watchers like me busy. It’s been a full-time job with this year’s inclementness mimicking last year’s rainy, stormy start, but it’s not hard given accurate information.

And when it comes to information, I’ve got that covered. A quick glance at the digital weather station indoor outdoor thermometer in the kitchen provides a glimpse of what’s already happening on the other side of the breakfast room windows. For the upcoming forecast on any bad stuff sneaking in, there’s not just one app on my phone, but two. That way, if I don’t like the first one, I have choices. Need in-depth details plus prognostications provided with live radar and more? That’s when weather.gov on the laptop is my go-to guru.

However, if I by some circumstance I happen to miss all of those, or I’m sleeping soundly in the middle of the night, I’m still covered. The home security system sends audible alerts often arriving before warnings on the other devices.

Oh, and let’s not forget Center’s text alert system called Code Red. If there is any danger of severe thunderstorms, flooding conditions, tornadoes—they are on it. I was in line to check-in at the Midtown Hilton in New York City not long after Center adopted the system when my phone rang. Now I’ll admit that big cities and large crowds make me nervous to begin with, but seeing “Code Red” flashing in one hand and still clutching bags in the other just minutes after a “code red” cab ride from the airport in the largest city in the U.S. got my attention. Relief came quickly however, when I learned all was well in the Big Apple. But it was interesting to know about the “severe thunderstorms and potential flooding” half a continent away in Center.

All that said, the best two weather warning systems in my home are not on the above list. They’re far more accurate than any of the others, not dependent on electricity or batteries, always ready and always active.

You can take it to the bank that storms are imminent when my “bless her heart,” goofy little schnauzer-yorki mix, “Sassy the weather dog” hunkers down under my chair and commences her shrill serenade of whimpers and whines not unlike a tornado warning siren. And should the weather dog need back up, check to see if I’m rubbing the pains in my hip and shoulder.

I used to think it funny that the only thing “the old people” talked about was the weather and their latest physical ailment, surgical procedure or trip to the doctor. Both my sisters and I garnered great delight in our younger years by laughing at our elders for such conversations at family reunions. However, by the time we were all three looking at 40 in the rear-view mirror, I was already wondering what used to be so funny about it.

Then there was that night many years ago that I had that motorcycle wreck. I also thought it funny that the orthopedic surgeon repairing my shoulder joked about the “bright side” and how I would become proficient at forecasting the weather as I grew older. I’m also trying to remember what was so dadgum funny about that.

The sun has been shining the last few days after storms in East Texas last week that wreaked havoc including a huge tornado ripping along Lake Sam Rayburn. However, odds on favorite for the next few weeks on all household devices is still more stormy days before summer heat arrives.

Never fear though, Sassy and I are currently conferring on the next wave of weather headed this way. So, if all you have are the fancy new digital devices to determine the weather, just send me your text number. We’ll keep you updated.

—Leon Aldridge

Aldridge columns are published in these Texas newspapers: The Center Light and Champion, the Mount Pleasant Tribune,  the Rosenberg Fort Bend Herald, the Taylor Press, and the Alpine Avalanche.

© Leon Aldridge and A Story Worth Telling 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Leon Aldridge and A Story Worth Telling with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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