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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Extreme Weather: Exciting Or Devastating?


It is well known that I get very excited with extreme weather, I love downpours, damaging winds, disruptive snowfall, etc.

I think one could be (wrongly) accused of being heartless as said exciting weather causes great disruption, sometimes destruction to people’s houses and businesses, and now and again loss of life.

But one of the main reasons I do my spot of weather forecasting and run my Facebook page is I want the people that I care about (which isn't just people I know) to have as much information as possible as to what the upcoming weather may be so they can make judgements as to whether they need to make any preparations.

Weather as a part of nature is a fact of life, we cannot change it (well maybe apart from cloud seeding and a few other controversial ideas) – extreme weather affects most people across the planet in one way or another, and steps can be taken to prepare oneself and one’s property from danger if one bothers to take a minute or two to keep up to date with forecasts.

For me, the most exciting weather is the tornado due to it’s almost random nature and the extreme power and intensity in such a short time – but when watching the videos of whole towns completely flattened one cannot help to feel emotion and question the morality of storm chasing.

But whilst there is a minority in America that views storm chasers as scum, many of those in affected areas rely on information from chasers to keep safe.  The fascination of extreme weather for many folks does save lives.

Many are also scientists looking to study the storms to learn further and help future predictions of severe weather outbreaks.

My longest-standing dream is to go storm-chasing in America and I will do my best to ensure I achieve it in the next few years.  Of course I am unlikely to be contributing to the scientific aspect in any way other than part-funding the trip through the fees (approx £1.5-£2k) however the knowledge I gain from first-hand experience of such storms will help my personal education in such matters...it is not beyond the realms of possibility to get a significant tornado in the UK.

So whilst there is of course a voyeuristic nature and a sense of excitement and fascination when it comes to the extremes of weather for those of us with this obsession, there is also a greater good at heart and a scientific or education purpose to what many of us do when following the weather.