My TOR:CON index is 9.8 and Rising

Hi. My name is J and I’m an addict.

It’s been seven whole days since I’ve watched The Weather Channel.

Some of you may have seen signs of my erratic behavior. When our house shook, TWC was the first thing I turned to. After the earthquake, I had it on nearly 24/7 to witness Hurricane Irene plow north-northwest—that is, until we lost power and I went into forced withdrawals.

I picked it up again soon after, only to get depressed when I saw Jim Cantore deskbound, all mopey and subdued. He’s much sexier in his baseball cap, sans glasses, leaning into the wind in the Outer Banks surf; getting all jittery at the lower tip of Manhattan; enthusiastically describing the rush of muddy waters off the Susquehanna River; or popping into New Orleans . . . again . . .

For me, it got so bad at one point I was sobbing. Too many fires in Texas! More flooding in the Northeast! Two tropical depressions, tropical storm/hurricane Katia or Maria, and something named Nate and another tropical wave off the coast of Africa. Not to mention Tornado! Tornado! Tornado! (Oh, that last TWC video was an Oklahoma twister circa 1999. We apparently don’t have enough current natural disasters (just two days ago another tornado spun into Ocean City, Md!.); we need to troll the last few decades searching for others. But thanks for revisiting).

And then there’s the draw of the T.V. crawl, which keeps telling me to keep my children from playing near floodwaters, or to never drive across flooded roadways since one foot of water is enough to carry my car away. This scroll is usually accompanied by that alarming emergency tone: beep …. beep …. beeeep—a Flash Flood Advisory Has Been Issued for Your Area. Ooooh, ooooh that sound. Can’t you hear that sound . . .

I was hitting rock bottom. Still, I couldn’t turn it off.

I first became hooked on weather in college. I got a kick out of my meteorology class, one of two undergrad science requirements. It is the only textbook I ever kept. Sometimes, even years later, I would crack it open just to flip through pictures of cumulonimbus cloud formations.

My husband, who is way more handsome than Jim Cantore, is getting worried. Maybe I’m suffering from P.T.S.D. Only, in my case it seems to be Present-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Even after everything started calming down I’d feel my heart palpitate whenever I saw the icons flashing ‘isolated thunderstorms.’ I resisted. I hid the remote.

And I’m not the only adrenaline junkie who loves the highs and lows of weather. Why, in the midst of a storm, do Weather Channel meteorologists seem like they are suppressing giggles? Just watch them. Their eyes actually jiggle in their heads and their voices tremble when they say things like ‘Katia has been upgraded to a Cat 2 Hurricane.” Or “The tornado threat, or TOR:CON, is a 7.0 out of 10!” I don’t want to assume too much or be judgmental, but perhaps the severe weather specialists, stormcasters, and tornado chasers should go into rehab. Or they could rename the whole endeavor The Disaster Channel and be done with it.

Before it all ends in 2012.

Thank you for letting me share.


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