If you want bad weather,
just check my itinerary
By GRAHAM OSTEEN
Editor and Publisher
When your travel plans call for adventure, call me.
Like a Weather Channel reporter live on the scene, I seem to have developed an uncanny ability to arrive in locales far and wide just ahead of record-setting weather systems, including, but not limited to, heavy snow, incredibly dangerous ice, torrential rains, hurricane force winds and mind-altering electrical storms.
You name it, I’ve traveled into the bowels of it, usually accompanied by my patient and loving wife, who always swears that “this trip is the last – ever.”
My two children are not immune to these curious “vacations,” which have included a South Carolina spring break monsoon with late-March temperatures in the low 40s, the coldest and nastiest “Big Red Boat” Disney cruise on record, and some thrilling North Carolina interstate ice spinning one freaky Easter several years ago. This led to the purchase of snow chains for the family minivan, which is highly unusual for any Southerner.
My bride swears it’s a curse, but I think of it as getting the most out of life. We’ve given each other the Presbyterian equivalent of last rites while trying to land in Denver during a freak thunderstorm, and we’ve been snowed in several times at various locations throughout the country. We visited the house where Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson was filmed, but somehow we didn’t get snowed in there.
The most recent dramatic weather event occurred this past weekend, when we arrived in Boston just ahead of the largest “Nor-easter” in 30 years.
According to my favorite science web site – howstuffworks.com – “Nor'easters can occur in the eastern United States any time between October and April, when moisture and cold air are plentiful. They are known for dumping heavy amounts of rain and snow, producing hurricane-force winds, and creating high surfs that cause severe beach erosion and coastal flooding. A Nor'easter is named for the winds that blow in from the northeast and drive the storm up the east coast along the Gulf Stream, a band of warm water that lies off the Atlantic coast.”
Well, my friend, we were right there, and even the most hard core locals were impressed by the Nor-easter of 2003. They’ll be digging out of it until May.
I’ve been in some bad snowstorms out West before, but they’re actually kind of fun compared to the stuff these New Englanders put up with. The wind was relentless, and the wet, driving snow made you realize where the term “hardy Yankee” comes from. I’ll take humidity, sunburn and golfball-sized mosquitoes over a prolonged blizzard any time.
Even the Bostonians who were stranded in the hotel with us stayed inside during most of it. The weather subsided somewhat on Sunday – the winds were 40 miles an hour and the wind chill was 0 degrees – which is when the New England Patriots hosted the Miami Dolphins. There were people in the stands with no shirts on to demonstrate their solidarity with the Patriots, and I still don’t understand how they survived.
I guess they were hardy.