Ode to the Local Meteorologist

Growing up in Spokane, winters were brutal and long. The snow fell freely and we lived through some nasty storms. Aside from wearing heavy coats, driving on slick roads, and constantly shoveling our driveways, another memory I have from those seasons is watching the local news forecasts. Or, to be a little more specific, watching my parents watch the local news forecasts.

I can look back 20 years and picture my mom groaning during the local news, dreading the snow-filled forecasts from the local meteorologists. She would scan through the three local stations, catching each forecast, hoping that one would convey better news than the other. Aside from maybe an inch or two, they rarely did.
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Sidney and I watch the Myrtle Beach news stations on a daily basis. During the work week, we will usually catch a local newscast around dinner time and then I watch the morning weekend shows. But by no means do I spend an abundance of my time watching local news.

Except for when we are on a hurricane watch.

Taking a page out of the playbook of my parents, during times such as these, I will force myself to stay up and watch the 11 p.m. news. I will then watch the early shows and the plethora of broadcasts that come on from 5 – 8 p.m. Needless to say, I become a little bit of a local news junkie!

But why? As a social media nerd, I have a real time play-by-play account of every minor move these storms make. I have the Weather Channel website bookmarked on my computer. I have amateur “meteorologists” all around me and on the other side of the country (thanks, mom and dad) who are more than willing to give me the current forecast and their interpretation of it.

So, it might seem puzzling that I make the effort to be in front of my TV during certain times of the day (and put up with commercials) when I can get all the info I need just by looking at my phone.

I think I know why I do it though. No, it isn’t just because my parents did it themselves while I was growing up. Heck, who is to say that they wouldn’t have relied solely on their smart phones if that technology existed back then? Rather, it is all about the personal touch.

Maybe it is because of my vulnerability during these unsettling times, but I appreciate the comfort of a well-mannered local weather expert explaining the complexities of a potentially devastating situation in a way I can understand. To have someone on the other side of the TV screen who is in it for the long haul with me develops a special rapport (as one-sided as it might be).

These Myrtle Beach meteorologists, one in particular who is a full-blown celebrity in our area (looking at you, Ed Piotrowski), make navigating through a hurricane a little more bearable. Their commitment wins me over. These individuals work round the clock, some going live for hours on end. They serve as my trustworthy tour guide through the twists and turns of a stressful, dangerous event. They don’t take breaks, they don’t complain, and they don’t fizzle under pressure. I can respect that.

In closing, hurricane season is also local meteorologist season in the Reser household. Some people might think the local weather guy (or gal) is a bit corny, but I much rather have him in my living room than Dorian. Don’t Blink.