My “Twisted” Obsession
I am sitting at home this afternoon streaming WBKR on my computer. I just heard Dave Spencer chat with WEHT meteorologist Wayne Hart about this evening’s MODERATE risk of severe weather. We’re expecting heavy rains, thunderous storms, dangerous lightning, powerful straight-line winds, and even possible tornadoes. Normal people hear this kind of news and immediately start thinking about their safety plans. The main question . . . if the sirens sound, where am I headed? The basement? The neighbor’s cellar? The interior-most room of the house? But not me. I know where I’ll be headed. I’m going to be outside right in the middle of the storm.
One of my favorite shows on television is the Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers. Reed Timer (pictured below) has the COOLEST job in the world. He literally chases tornadoes in his S.R.V. (Storm Research Vehicle) called THE DOMINATOR! And what makes The Dominator so awesome is that he can park the thing right in the path of a tornado, deploy its anchors and stakes into the ground and truly ride out the storm. THAT IS MY DREAM!!
Look! I understand how destructive this force of nature can be and I am certainly not discounting that. In my professional radio career, I have covered several twisters. They are ferocious funnels of annihilation that can be woefully destructive and deadly. But there is something about them that completely fascinates me. Many of my friends are terrified of tornadoes and I understand why. They hear the sirens and immediately hit the deck. But not me. I’m drawn to them for some reason. Something in me feeds the urge to stand and face the storm.
When a tornado blew through downtown Owensboro a couple of years ago, I literally stood in my front yard and watched the tornado demolish buildings and blow transformers just a few blocks away (7 blocks to be exact). Moments later, I was on the scene, cell phone in hand, walking through debris and devastation to get a first-hand look at nature’s fury. I did the same thing back in 2000 when a tornado ripped through town. I was there . . . broadcasting from inside a house that had been completely blown off its foundation. There’s something about “the storm” that compels me to be a part of it.
So, this afternoon, I sit here at my computer. I have Dave Spencer’s afternoon show streaming on my PC. WEHT’s website is pulled up in another box. And I have The Weather Channel’s continuous coverage blaring from the television in my living room. This afternoon and evening I will most definitely have my eyes to sky. And, I know, that if the sirens sound, I’m going to be right there in the path of the storm, trying to catch a glimpse of one of Mother Nature’s most fascinating creations.
I get it. This may sound ridiculous to some of you because we all know how trecherous tornadoes can be. After all, in the last ten years, we have had some terrible outbreaks here in the tri-state. And tonight, the threat, a truly viable threat, returns. Most of you will be alert and ready to seek shelter if the weather turns severe. But, if you’re like me (and it’s probably not wise to be so), you’ll be riveted by nature’s display of power and sharing my “twisted” obsession.