What a whopper storm over the northern U.S. earlier this week. The “land hurricane” broke barometric pressure records with a minimal central pressure of 28.24″ or 956mb. I’m sure for many that went through the storm, it will be one they won’t forget. Which got me thinking, what are my most memorable weather events?
I grew up in Florida, but have lived in several places since being in television. When I started thinking about this list, I thought hurricanes and tornadoes would dominate it, but, winter weather is actually the most prominent. So here we go, the Top 5 weather events I have personally experienced:
1. The No Name Storm of 1993 (Crystal River, FL) – We were the first victims of the so-called “Perfect Storm.” On a cold, March morning, an area of low pressure rapidly deepened in the Gulf of Mexico. It would bring a 10-foot storm to Florida’s Gulf Coast, carrying salt water well inland. Our family home was flooded with about a foot of water. I think it’s still the most helpless I’ve ever felt. We were out of our home for six months. When Mother Nature displaces you, you don’t forget. I wrote a blog about my experience http://kocoweatherblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/the-no-name-storm-of-1993/
2. The Christmas Eve Blizzard of 2009 (OKC) – I think this one is fresh in all of our minds. I remember as Christmas Eve pushed on, and the snow was piling up, thinking, “this is happening….in Oklahoma City!” I had to swallow a big lump in my throat before I went on-air and said we could a foot-and-a-half of snow. I mean, who’s going to believe me? Do I believe me? Spending Christmas Eve night at the station is something I’d like to not do again. The most memorable part would be driving back to the house Christmas Day. It looked like a kid had dropped a box of cars and they just scattered across the roads. Some cars were completely buried in snow and we had to drive on the wrong side of the road and some medians just to make it home. I’m sure stories from this storm will be told for generations to come.
3. Tornado Outbreak 2006 (Jefferson City, MO) – March 13, 2006, I was Chief Meteorologist at KRCG. We knew it was coming, it was just hard to believe. Forty tornadoes in Missouri. At one point, I had three F3 or larger tornadoes on the ground simultaneously in my viewing area. We didn’t have the resources we do here. It was just me and the radar for 10 hours straight. I lost my voice, but gained a new respect for Mother Nature.
4. Hurricane Elena, Labor Day Weekend 1985 (Crystal River, FL) – I was eight. It was the first time I had to evacuate for a hurricane. I remember hearing our towns name on the Weather Channel and thinking we were famous. My parents thought we were going to lose our house. All I cared about was that the friend’s house we were staying at had a big pool. Elena made an erratic turn just before landfall (and actually headed back into the Gulf) and Crystal River was spared.
5. Ice Storm 2007 (OKC) – This one sticks out in my mind for the shear amount of ice we saw. It was like rock em’ sock em’ race cars trying to drive for a few days. It was hard to believe that at one point, 40% of the state was without power. I think the ice storm would be higher on my if it weren’t for the fact that I was one of those fortunate souls who did not lose power. Seeing the damage the large tree limbs caused to some beautiful areas of Oklahoma City was heartbreaking.
My first snow in Florida (1989)……Baseball Hail in Clarksburg, WV (1998)…….Two 20″ blizzards within a week in Albany, NY (2002)…….Hurricane Ivan (2004)…..Missouri Blizzard (2006)….this one could have, and perhaps should have made Top 5.