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WORKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND....

As many of you are aware, I don't like snow--- at least, not anymore. A few days ago, I was flipping through an old photo album and stumbled across childhood pictures of some unknown snowstorm. In one photo, I was grinning from ear to ear. Yes, I was having fun. Our family's farm contained a large field of varying slope- perfect for tractor sledding. For those of you who are unfamiliar with "tractor sledding", it's just as simple as it sounds. We would tie our sleds to the tractor hitch, and dad would drive us around the snow-covered field. Sometimes, our sleds would move so fast dad had to hit the clutch so we wouldn't slide into the tractor tires. Tractor sledding was dangerous, but it sure was fun.

Even if we fell off the sled at high speed, we had so much padding under our coveralls that injury was unlikely. Mom would usually dress us in layer upon layer of scarves and coats. My feet barely fit in my boots due to the fact that I was wearing three pairs of socks. Mom was also known for her snow cream. It was a simple recipe, but I've been unable to duplicate the exact taste. Mom would take an old bucket and scoop-up fresh snow from the windshields of our trucks. She would add a healthy does of milk and sugar, and a dash of vanilla flavoring. The finished product was far better than even the finest ice cream.

With all of these fond childhood memories, where did my antipathy for snow really begin? I think it started with my professional career. For a time, I was a student intern with a television station in Raleigh. While there, we experienced a particularly brutal winter. It seemed that we had at least one snow/sleet event every week. And naturally, whenever the snow started to fall, we went straight to work. Each week, I was the only idiot trying to drive on the roads. Everyone else was snuggled safely at home.

As you can imagine, being a full time meteorologist only makes matters worse. Snowstorms mean long work days away from family and friends. Imagine being a meteorologist during the 1989 Christmas snowstorm. For many families, it was a magical "white Christmas". For meteorologists, it was a miserable holiday spent in front of the computer screen. The public demands a perfect forecast, so a lot is riding on the shoulders of a forecaster. Unfortunately, for every accurate snow forecast there are at least three bad ones. It takes such a rare set of ingredients to generate snow, and computer models don't always do a good job with the minor details.

I know many of you like snowfall. And for your sake, I hope you see a little this season. Very little...

By: Jerry Jackson