3.23.2009

Suspicious Character

I was able to survey another weather station during my recent travels. Here it is, from Pascagoula, MS:


The temperature recording device is on the post in the middle, amidst all the heat-absorbing and reflecting material.

Many of the stations I survey are at private residences or at government facilities (like this one, at a water treatment plant). When I arrive at some of these locations and announce that I am here to see the weather station, some people are suspicious of me. They wonder who I am, why I'm there, and how I found them. The proprietor of the above station was probably the most suspicious person I've encountered so far. That's probably not too surprising, though, considering that this plant is behind a remote-controlled gate with an intercom, like you might see in a fancy residential neighborhood.

How I find these stations is a simple matter, because NOAA maintains a database that is posted on the internet with this information. These stations are public record, so I don't have to do any real sleuthing of any kind to find them. There's even a handy Google Earth layer.

Why I'm there is a more difficult question. I usually say "I'm participating in a project to survey these stations to check for proper siting" or something like that." I typically omit the part about this being an internet-based project, because people generally seem to think that things internet-based are sketchy (like dating). I will often mention that a meteorologist runs the project, to give it a scientific imprimatur. The fact that National Weather Service people, who maintain and check these sites, rarely express concern about poorly-located stations does not help reduce the questionableness of my endeavors.

I explained all of the above to the water plant employee in Pascagoula, in response to his numerous questions. He was satisfied enough to let me take my pictures, but he watched me all the while I was there. His co-worker didn't seem too concerned, however. After a few minutes of surveying, I left, happy to have gotten my pictures and escaped the suspicious treatment from the plant employee.

1 comment :

  1. Well, you are a very suspicious looking character.

    ReplyDelete