Pondering history of tracking weather | TheFencePost.com

Pondering history of tracking weather

I had a novel thought about American history the other day when I watched the weather app on my cell phone track the movement, hour by hour, of a semi-major snowstorm coming into our area from Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.

During the day as I watched the storm approach, and prepared for it, I marveled at how much weather forecasting has improved through technological innovations during the last three decades.

Then I got to thinking about how much major weather changes must have been a major pain to our ancestors. The best thing they had to forecast the weather wuz to watch the horizon, watch for changes around them in nature, and just use their plain ol’ gut instinct from experience. It wuz an unreliable hit and miss proposition for sure.

Then my thinking went one step further. I’ll bet the invention and building of the telegraph system wuz not only a major step forward in communications for the pioneers, but also in weather forecasting. But, I’ve never read anything about it.

I’ll bet the telegraph wires got hot as telegraphers tapped out their current weather conditions to locations down the wire — east, west, north and south. I can imagine the storm weather information sent by wire from Dodge City or Denver to Kansas City, or from Dallas to Omaha and all points in between.

I’ll bet our forebears were as appreciative of advance telegram notifications of approaching storms — hours or maybe even days in advance — as I am from my cell phone.


Speaking of the weather, it’s only been a couple of weeks since the winter solstice, but I can already tell the days are getting longer. My chickens head for their roost a few minutes later every day.


I neglected to mention the Christmas activities of the Saffordville Methodist Church, just a mile from our home. The church members worked to find an alternative to their traditional indoors Christmas celebration. Covid put a stop to that tradition.

Church members have always put up a nativity scene on the lawn with inanimate figures. This year they decided to go all-out and have a real live nativity scene that the public could appreciate by driving through it.

So they erected the stable scene, but then they put life in it by bringing in live sheep, a donkey, and even a couple of live camels they shipped in from 100 miles away. Then the church members dressed up as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men, and angels. Plus, the whole production coincided with the convergence of the planets Jupiter and Saturn as a huge bright star in the night sky.

The live nativity scene wuz a resounding success. More than 300 carloads of folks from all around the vicinity made the “pilgrimage” to appreciate the scene and share in a covid-free Christmas program.


Speaking of covid, have you noticed that many folks have acquired what I call “covid chin.” I see it on TV as many of the talking heads are more “jowly” than they used to be. I may have put on a bit of “covid chin” myself as I’ve eaten and drank myself through the pandemic to this point.


Ol’ Avery Ware brought his two beagle hounds here last week hoping we could find some rabbits for his hounds to run. Alas, we ran the hounds, but they found no rabbits to chase. We were disappointed. But we’ll try again somewhere else soon.


Did you hear about the good-natured farmer who went to see his eye doctor for his annual eye checkup. His doc got him aligned on the vision-test machine and asked him what he saw on the chart.

The farmer laughed and said, “Well, Doc, I see empty sports arenas, lines of people wearing masks, one-way aisles in stores, empty bars and empty churches.”

His doc, who wuz quick-witted, too, replied, “Well, congratulations. You’ve got perfect 2020 vision.”


Now for words of wisdom for the week:

I’m quickly approaching 78 years of age. I never planned to get this old. It just slipped up on me.

Many people make new year resolutions and many times that resolution is to improve their physical health. I’m different. I make new year “wants” and this year I want to drop my body off at the exercise gym and pick it up when it’s fit and ready.

Folks keep telling me to “live my life and forget my age.” I’ve tried, but all my aches and pains keep reminding me of how old I am.


If you ain’t got new shocks on your vehicle, better get some. Be ready. We may have some rough rides ahead in 2021.

Have a good ‘un.

Milo Yield

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