The Relativity of Weather Alerts & Volunteer Newscasting

Its been a very warm and wet late summer and fall in much of Alaska and Talkeetna has been no different.  We’re already a week into November and we still have no snow on the ground although across the past few days the temperatures have finally returned to a more normal range with a low yesterday (Friday, 11/08) morning if just 6.3 F and an afternoon high of 22.3 F.  Yesterday I saw an alert issued by NWS for a rain/snow event over the weekend; this morning they had fleshed out said alert with details and these surprised me a bit.  Although NWS just posted a ‘Winter Weather Advisory’ for the northern Susitna River Valley including Talkeetna I was shocked to see the forecast calling for anywhere from six to twelve inches of snow by Sunday afternoon!  In SE Michigan this kind of snow accumulation would’ve generated a ‘Winter Storm Warning’ and probably even a ‘Heavy Snow Warning’ as well.  Yet up here its just a ‘Winter Weather Advisory’.  In SE Michigan such an advisory would be given for snowfall in the range of two to four inches.  Without question I’ll be re-learning the relative severity of NWS issued weather statements across the next few years.

After fumbling my way through my inaugural KTNA newscast last Thursday at noon the program director decided I was ready for a regular posting and assigned me to do the local evening news on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 18:00 to 18:25 AKST.  I was a bit surprised as I didn’t think I’d done very well at all but then the only way to improve one’s presence and delivery is to practice so the poor locals around Talkeetna will just have to buck up while I work to get my sound and rhythm perfected and in place.  All the staff and volunteers I’ve spoken to have been very kind and supportive; without question its their personalities that really encouraged me to give this volunteering a shot.  Never having done anything like this previously it has been a bit of stretch and that’s okay because I’ve found that while I’m usually initially hesitant I ultimately do enjoying forcing myself to try new things.  I suppose to most folks packing up one’s household, driving it 4200 miles to a place one has never lived previously, unloading it and then working to settle into a rural lifestyle after living exclusively urban in the lower 48 for 60 years could qualify as a bit of ‘stretching’ but to me it was fulfilling a dream so I really don’t see it from that same perspective.  Without question I’ve finally found ‘home’ and in this sense the staff and volunteers of KTNA are rather like my extended family.  I am looking forward to really making a place for myself in this eclectic community and I know my on-air volunteering will indeed help this happen..!

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