Weather Radio Blues

by Kathy Coogan

We have a weather radio in our bathroom. Yep, we really do. It is a small brown box with an adjustable, silver antenna like the ones on old TVs. It sits on my husband’s sink next to the toothbrush holder and the power-washer thingie that our dentist recommends. The battery-operated radio is an integral part of my husband’s daily toilette.

He gets up, walks into the bathroom, punches the ON button and his day begins. I have been awakened every morning since my husband bought his first one, probably twenty years ago, by the robot-voice of NOAA weather radio. The acronym stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Pretty big job administering the oceans and the atmosphere.

The acronym is pronounced “Noah” by the disembodied spokesperson, perhaps to implant a subliminal reminder of what happened to everybody but Noah when they didn’t take the weather seriously. I needn’t worry. My husband takes the weather very seriously.

NOAA radio runs a continuously updated loop describing the weather, ominous or otherwise, in our tri-state area (OH, IN, KY) counties. As a person who gains her weather information by looking out the window, I find this extremely annoying. I am informed that it is partly cloudy in counties which I will never visit, especially at 6:30 this morning. I am told this information because my husband is slower with the OFF button than he is with the ON.

For him, NOAA weather news provides a pleasant background music to his morning, providing him with important information when he remembers to pay attention to it. The trick is you have to be listening carefully when your county is identified.

Many a morning, I have heard my beloved snarling, “G-D it. I missed it,“ which requires him to keep the thing playing until it trips through our county again. There are 88 counties in Ohio alone so this takes some time. He will reluctantly admit that there have been mornings when Clermont County has eluded him through several loops.

On those mornings, a better wife would say, ”Honey, let’s listen together so we can make sure we know whether we will need an umbrella or not.” Instead, I want to scream (and have screamed though I am not proud of it), “Just look out the blasted window, why don’t you?”

Of course there have been times when Noah has given us an important heads-up: flooding in the area, tornado watches/warnings and a blizzard moving in the next day when we were planning to leave for Florida. That little tidbit enabled us to depart home before the storm hit. We sneaked out ahead of it by a merciful hour! I had great affection for Noah that day.

Unfortunately these four examples have given my husband carte blanche to listen to the disembodied male and/or female computer-generated voices dispensing far-reaching weather information till the cows come home. Four examples of weather calamity in 6,300 days (give or take) of weather listening are justification enough.

It’s not that I am not grateful for those announcements which keep us informed of impending doom but do I really need to hear that rainfall is down (or up) in Whatchamacallit County? Apparently, as I once answered long ago to another question, “I do.”

Another personal story. This one by Mo.

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