You know it's bad when Dr. Frank comes for a visit. Hurricane 'Matthew' bearing down on the Florida coast with 140 mph winds is indeed bad. And what a strange forecast track right up the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coast. We talked a lot about the storm, and I love having Doc's lifetime of hurricane experience at my side. However, it was the other stuff we talked about that really fascinated me.
There we we're looking at satellite loops of the storm. It's a tool we take for granted today. So I asked Neil if he remembered the first satellite image of earth he ever saw. 'I knew it was a game changer' he excitedly replied. For the first time we could see the storms forming out over the ocean, he explained, that would often go unreported unless it entered the shipping lanes. We could track disturbances coming off the coast of Africa and track them in case they developed into Hurricanes on their track across the Atlantic. In Fact Dr. Frank was the guy at the Hurricane Center in the 1960's who's job it was to paste together raw images from the TRIOS-1 weather satellite.
We also talked about our families, my kids, his kids and grandkids (I think he's up to 14 now!) and the fact that he is 85 years old but looks, moves and acts like a MUCH younger man. His advice to me was simple, don't live your life thinking about medical problems you may or may not have. Stay active physically and engaged in the things you love. For Doc, that means playing golf (he still shoots in the 90's) and giving talks to groups about weather, climate and his thoughts on global warming.
Most of all I just enjoyed his company in the weather center. In a world of instant information overload, hype and social media hysteria, Doc cuts right through it and reminds me what's really important about forecasting hurricanes. That is, to inform and protect you at home from the storm.
(© 2016 KHOU)