Monday, 13 April 2009

Weathering Alaska

You've heard the old saw, "Everybody talks about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it." Maybe Mark Twain's aphorism applied in the Lower 48 but not in Alaska, where weather is a life or death, profit or loss issue. In Alaska, they talk, write, televise about the weather. Why, since January, 1990, the Anchorage Daily News has been running (on their full page color weather coverage) a six times a week column on the weather.

Mark Evangelista doesn't let it rest at that: he does a half hour weather gloss on the public TV station five days a week. I find his TV a bit too hokey, during which the black-mustachioed, heavy-eyebrowed former Air Force meteorologist gets a little too Groucho Marxist as he skitters back and forth to let you see, now the Panhandle, now the Aleutian chain. (Man, there's a lot of weather there to cover, brother.)

But I was so appreciative of the literate quality of his ADN weather palavers that I called him up at the U.S. Weather Bureau where he works as a meteorologist. Lo and behold, he's a Pennsylvanian, from Hazelton, with a B.S. in biology from Penn State, 1982.

This Groucho clone is only 30 years old, obviously a fast tracker. After graduate work at St. Louis University, he entered the Air Force for a four year stint, first a year doing weather for fighter squadrons in Korea and Japan, then service at Anchorage's Elmendorf Air Base, working his way up the weather ladder so that at discharge he looked for a local outlet, and found two, one on the newspaper and one on the air.

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