The Arizona Weatherman


The typical summer Phoenix weather forecastWeatherman, weathergirl, weatherperson, weather forecaster, weather presenter or even meteorologist…no matter what you prefer to call it, if your desire is to be in weather, but perhaps you just don’t have the skills to land a job yet, then ARIZONA is the place for you! That’s right, no skills required. Can you read sun ball symbols?

If you have ever dreamed of having a job on the local TV news, but think you are not handsome or pretty enough to be a news anchor, or maybe you are not a big sports nut, or even find it uncomfortable doing human interest stories about the monkeys at the Phoenix Zoo having a birthday party with banana cake, then there is only one option left for you! Phoenix weather forecaster!

After living in AZ for 20 L-O-N-G years now, I can tell you how absurd it is to look at a weather forecast or even hear it given on local news. This coming week for instance the forecast shows 5 bright yellow sun balls in a row. No cloud symbols, no lightening, no wind, just baking sunshine. Literally, a weather person could pre-record his segment for the entire week, and then go to Florida and experience some real weather. Just think about it, the local weatherman in Florida has to deal with hot temperatures, extreme humidity, lightening, afternoon thunder showers, high surf warnings, rip tides, hurricanes, and even shark sightings! Wheeewww, now that’s some real, juicy, life threatening, serious reporting! The only water in an AZ report is the warning to be sure and carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go.

A hot day in ArizonaLast year, my daughter and I went to a 5:30 movie. When we left my house, it was HOT and not a cloud in the sky. The weather forecast made no mention of impending doom. Halfway through the movie the lights went out & left us in complete darkness. The loudest, piercing sirens I’ve ever heard in my life were going off, punctuated by an automatonic voice telling us that an emergency in the building had been detected and for us to evacuate at the nearest exit immediately. Looking back, I can see that this emergency broadcast system was designed for an inside threat, clearly not what we were about to face. After nearly, excuse the raw truth, POOPING MY PANTS…I took off like a bat out of hell and left my daughter behind. Oh sure, we laugh about it now, but it was not funny at the time! Call me a bad mother, but even the airlines say affix your oxygen mask first, then your child’s. I was planning to come back with help – really!! It was quite the circus act, as it was so dark no one could find the exit. Finally someone did and when they opened the door a lady screamed and yelled FIRE! All she could see was what appeared to be dark brown smoke! However, it was not a fire, and it was not a terrorist attack, it was a HABOOB!

Dust storms (or haboobs) in ArizonaA haboob is an intense dust storm, mostly heard about in Arabian countries. Here in Phoenix, AZ, we usually get boring old ‘dust storms.’  But not this lucky day. How did the weather guys & gals miss a HABOOB, an all engulfing cloud of dust and wind that is extremely life threatening? My gosh, it was 50 miles long and 5 miles high – a wall of death and destruction! Needless to say that it made national news. Arizonans who experienced it truly thought it was the end of the world. It looked apocalyptic for sure! Even the camel on Camelback Mountain was coughing up dust for a week!

There was a half inch layer of dirt left behind on everything from cars, to chairs, to sidewalks. It took over a week to get our pool back to normal. All pool supply stores had their inventory exhausted within hours.

Typical hot summer Phoenix weatherThe good news about Arizona weather reporters is that they can say “sunny and hot” so darn well, that when they miss even a HABOOB, they don’t get fired!

Welcome to Arizona. Tomorrow will be sunny and hot…we think!

Mary & Lee Bortel

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2 thoughts on “The Arizona Weatherman

  1. No Arizona says:

    Great article! This had me laughing so hard, but sometimes the truth is so ludicrous that it’s also hilarious!

  2. sandy says:

    Mary, I can just hear you telling this story and it makes me laugh so hard! I miss you, come back home to MARYLAND!!!!!!

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