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For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with weather. I’m an amateur meteorologist; it’s my hobby. If I had been better at math when I was in school – maybe I would be a professional meteorologist. If I only knew then what I know now.
Sometime late in my college career is when I was bitten by the bug - too late to really do anything about it professionally. But that didn’t stop my hobby. Now I am the official family meteorologist – everyone calls me to see what’s going to happen. Sometimes, I get calls and e-mails from friends.
Either because of, or in spite of my love for weather, I seem to gravitate to careers where weather is a big part of the job: television news writer in college, radio journalist, county public information officer (where emergency management was a piece of what I did), public relations for an electric utility (where weather seemed to drive just about EVERYTHING we did), and now a newspaper editor.
I have been on the air and on the road in blizzards, hurricanes (I was in Ocean City, N.J. during Gloria), more blizzards, tropical storms and ice storms. I have gone days without sleep, either reporting the impacts of the weather or responding when the media called. I remember one stretch when I worked for an electric utility in N.J., where I was on call for about 12-days – grabbing naps in between news cycles and interviews with reporters.
I am fascinated with weather, especially when a big weather-maker heads our way.
My name is Donna, and I am a weather nerd!
As this current nasty weather system started to brew, I was listening. Like many people, though, I discounted the possibility of a hurricane making it this far north in late October – let alone coming onshore!
But then I heard someone compare Sandy to the storm of 1991 – the so-called “Perfect Storm” that wreaked havoc in New England. As it began to look like circumstances were going to come together to bring this hurricane wrapped in a Nor’easter ashore and into Pennsylvania, I began, like many of you, to make plans.
In the 16 years we’ve lived in our house, we have never lost power for more than about 10 minutes. I have not filled my car with gas, taken money out of the ATM or stocked up on canned goods before a storm – not since Hurricane Gloria.
But on Friday, I sent Scot to the grocery store. On Saturday I got the flashlights out, I took out some cash and I filled the gas tank. I looked at my non-perishables and thought I needed more. So on Sunday morning I went to Walmart, grabbing the last three cans of Spaghettios. There was plenty of Beefaroni – but only whole grain. There wasn’t much bread left, but that was OK, because I already had three loaves in the freezer and one out, not to mention the loaf of blueberry and the loaf of strawberry/banana bread.
I got all my electronics charged, I charged my portable power station, so that if I can’t get to the office in Pottstown and I lose power at my house, I can charge my electronics and briefly use the computer.
I told the boys we will likely “camp out” in the living room Monday night. They see it as an adventure – I see it as a “just in case” one of our trees comes down onto the roof.
These weather situations come up several times a year. We joke afterward about the need for all that bread ...
There was just so much about this storm that seemed different to me – that seemed to warrant a different attention. If it turns out to be a bust – I’ll be right there joking about my “overreaction.”
But I would rather take the steps and NOT need them, than to do nothing and find myself in need.
I took steps Sunday to make sure my family was safe and unafraid throughout the duration of the coming storm, and to reassure the boys that I will be safe when I head out to do my job. As I was making all those personal plans, I was also making plans to cover what happened next, to keep readers informed.
As the paper went to press, we were still in the fairly early hours of the storm. I trust you made all your plans, and are keeping yourself and your families safe. We could come out on the other side of this with jokes about another weather bust … or not.
Regardless, there are stories to be told. Please share your Hurricane Sandy stories with us. Send me your anecdotes and pictures - e-mail them to email@example.com.