Summary: Every forecaster who works for the National Weather Service has a story about when he or she got the call. It almost always happened in childhood, usually between the ages of seven and ten. A tornado veered off just before it totaled their home. Lightning hit a tree across the street and they wanted to know why. Their dad got stranded by a hurricane. ''The next day I knew I wanted to be a weatherman,'' one forecaster told me after recounting his tale of how a tornado whipped up ...show moreI ''just scared the devil out of me'' when he was a ten-year-old boy in Texas. ''And I never changed my mind from that time on.'' When you spend time around National Weather Service meteorologists, you hear a lot versions of this story, but the conclusion is always the same:I never changed my mind from that day on. Lifelong commitment, insatiable curiosity, inexhaustible excitement over the weather: these are passions that motivate the people in charge of our national weather. These folks are not dull gray bureaucrats marking time in cinder-block Washington offices. They are people who have been obsessed for as long as they can remember with the weather--what causes it to change, how to predict those changes, how to communicate the predictions to as many people as quickly as possible. ''We are all weather nuts,'' confessed one NWS meteorologist with some pride. Even when we're off duty, we're very conscious of what's going on in the weather. We're always aware of what's going on out there.'' Spend some more time around the NWS folks, really get them talking about what they do and why they do it for the government instead of for some television station or private weather company, and you learn that underneath the weather obsession is a real sense of mission. For them, the bottom line is us--our lives, our property, our safety. ''I don't care if I get ...show lessEdition/Copyright: 96
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