Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Give me back my weather, man

I have turned into a weather nerd. This is not my fault. Florida does it to you.

I must know: Will my morning ride be a white-knuckler through one of our notorious fogs? Should I wait out a thunderstorm before braving the Skyway? What do I wear humidity-wise? Umbrella or no?

And soon: Is anything scary swirling out in the gulf?

So nerd I have become. "Definitely a south-southeast wind today," I say knowingly to my husband on the way out the door, or, "Did you hear? Two and a half inches down in Sun City!"

What we have here is an addiction, one I can track to the day we discovered the greatest cable channel ever, a Weather Channel spinoff called Weatherscan, Channel 49 on the Verizon dial.

Then one day, it was gone. Why? And why did I love it so?

Yes, we have plenty of weather on cable and local news (though I miss the days when forecasters — pardon, meteorologists — looked like they wanted to sell you a used car). But this was pure weather, all local all the time, Tampa Bay map, Florida map, Monday clouds, Tuesday sun, you get the picture. And every few minutes, radar showed you clouds pushing off Clearwater, or told you the storm currently pounding your roof was soon to pass. If you have an iota of control freak in you, heaven.

Best of all, no talking. No gripping human interest stories of house cats rescued from rooftops or families fleeing tornadoes or the world record mud puddle. No sopping reporters in rain slickers saying how incredibly dangerous it was wherever they were standing (though it was fun to watch all that perfect hair go limp). Just a pleasant recorded voice saying "your current conditions" over a loop of smooth jazz.

This became the background of our household, consulted for dog walks and Publix runs and whether a barbecue was in our future. Then it suddenly disappeared, replaced by the regular Weather Channel, which confoundingly still existed at its old channel, too.

I called Verizon and was promptly transferred to a series of cheery people who each needed all my account information before transferring me to the next guy. I began to suspect they were perusing my account for their own amusement — well, well, look who watches SOAPnet … who can't seem to stay up for Jon Stewart … and — Super Nanny? Really? Miraculously, no one tried to sell me anything, maybe due to the desperate edge in my voice. Hurricane season is coming, man! Gimme back my 24/7 Doppler! I had the urge to nervously scratch at my arms like I was in line at a methadone clinic.

Desperate, I e-mailed the Weather Channel and a representative named Vanthan Khel. (Apparently you need a cool name to work for the Weather Channel). Word came back swift as a summer storm: Hi Sue … We want to make our viewers aware that this not a content decision but a technical issue we're temporarily experiencing in the area. Our technician team has identified the problem. … currently undergoing repairs as we speak. … Regards, Vanthan.

Oh, Vanthan. You had me at "technical issue."

After work this week, my husband and I considered a foray out to dinner. Without much hope, we clicked on 49.

Smooth jazz. Soothing voice. And oh, there it was. The Doppler.

Hey, might be nice enough to sit outside.

Give me back my weather, man 05/21/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 21, 2010 11:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Senator says deal set on restoring ACA subsidies ended by Trump

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A leading Republican senator says he and a top Democrat have reached an agreement on a plan to extend federal payments to health insurers that President Donald Trump has blocked.

    President Donald Trump sits for a radio interview in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) DCSW104
  2. Protests at hotel before NFL owners open fall meetings


    NEW YORK — A pair of protests preceded the opening of the NFL's annual fall meetings, where owners and players are seeking a way to highlight social issues while taking the focus away from demonstrations during the national anthem.

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  3. Pasco delays Irma food distribution after problems elsewhere

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Pasco County has pulled the plug on a planned Food for Florida distribution at the Land O'Lakes Recreation Center that had been scheduled to open to the public on Sunday.

    Pasco County has postponed a planned Food for Florida distribution at the Land O' Lakes Recreation Center on Collier Parkway and is seeking an alternative site. Last week, commissioners said they feared a repeat of the long lines of traffic that appeared outside Plant City Stadium on Oct. 9. The nutrition program for people affected by Hurricane Irma had been scheduled to come to Land O' Lakes Oct. 18 to 27.  [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Officials caution residents regarding storm debris removal


    As the Pasco County Solid Waste Department and its contractors continue to remove debris left behind by Hurricane Irma, residents are reminded that the free removal does not include picking up new, green vegetation.

  5. Trump issues warning to McCain after senator's 'half-baked' comment (w/video)


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a warning shot after Republican Sen. John McCain questioned "half-baked, spurious nationalism" in America's foreign policy, saying "people have to be careful because at some point I fight back."

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, accompanied by Chair of the National Constitution Center's Board of Trustees, former Vice President Joe Biden, waves as he takes the stage before receiving the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. The honor is given annually to an individual who displays courage and conviction while striving to secure liberty for people worldwide. [Associated Press]