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Stormy, the Weatherman

stormyrottmanThe spring of the year is always lovely, especially if you live in a place where the winter has been hard. I remember when I lived in Denver everyone was longing for some bright and warm spring days after an extended period of cold and snow. And sure enough, a few such days came and then it turned cold and snowed some more.

One day I walked down to Arby’s for lunch which was only a block from where we lived. When I got there I saw Stormy Rottman, who did the weather for KBTV (now KUSA), channel 9. I always enjoyed Stormy because he was a lot of fun (Leon was his real name). He was a thin, small man and I remember seeing him dress up like a leprechaun for his St. Patrick’s Day weathercast. I said hello, told him I enjoyed watching him, and he invited me to sit down with him to eat. He identified from my accent that I was not from Colorado so we begin to talk about weather in different parts of the US.

I’ve always been interested in weather. When I was in elementary school we took a field trip over to Wilson, NC to meet Joe Overman. He was a local weatherman who had a weather station set up at his home and every day around lunch time would broadcast his report through a network of radio stations throughout eastern North Carolina. As best I remember, Joe was kind of a small man too which was a surprise to see, I guess because on the radio he had a pretty big baritone voice

As Stormy and I talked, he explained to me that weather forecasting could be tricky in Denver because of the foothills of the Rockies west of the city. Sometimes a front would be headed in and then stall and other times it would dump over the hills and blast the city with snow. He told me that one year it was early spring and there was a front headed toward Denver. He looked at all the stats, trying to make a call about what was going to happen. Finally, he decided that he would not forecast any snow but just say it was going to be cold and partly cloudy. He said the next day a guy called him up about 4 pm and said, “Stormy, I just wanted to let you know that I have 4 inches of partly cloudy in my driveway!” He laughed like crazy and so did I. You have to appreciate a guy who is diligent in what he does yet only takes himself but so seriously. Here’s a two minute video about Stormy.

Once I got back home I was reflecting on my conversation with Stormy Rottman…a nice man. He reminded me of people I grew up around and of course, that made me a little homesick for the state I love. There are so many components of why it is so special to me and my one time conversation with Stormy kind of kicked my reminiscing into gear.

One of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed North Carolina so much is the four distinct seasons and the accompanying weather. And though snow was plentiful when I lived in Colorado, I still love it when it shows up in my home state. I think it’s one of God’s greatest gifts, especially when it is abundant, slows us all down, and forces us to spend time with one another…whether outside playing in it or sitting inside in the warmth, preferably by a crackling fire, spending time with one another. The beauty of it when it has covered everything is quite awesome. I can stand or sit for long period gazing out a window, especially if I am holding a cup of coffee.

Once in a while we’d get about a foot of snow, a big amount by eastern NC standards, and things really would come to a standstill. Traffic would cease because at that time there were no snow plows in our town. Occasionally, some brave soul would venture down the street and from inside our homes we could hear the crack of ice and snow beneath tires as a vehicle made its way down the street.

When I was younger, likely in my early teen years as I remember it, I loved to get out at night and walk and observe the snow. I’d walk for hours looking at the pristine beauty where there were no tracks made by man nor beast. Light reflected off the snow having come from streetlamps or other sources. It may have been very dark but everything was brightened by the snow.

I think they contracted a few people to plow streets with motor graders but that did not usually happen until 3 or 4 days had passed where I lived. It was a big disappointment for us kids to see one finally come down the street.

So here I sit…remembering Stormy Rottman, a very nice man and weather guy, while thinking of precious days past in North Carolina.

Tags: broadcaster, stormy rottman, weather man

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