"Weather reporting: How I learned about post office talks" by: Mike Reddell

   In my early reporting years at the Kerrville Daily Times, my 20-something contemporaries and I would wonder why the publisher’s column would often be on the weather.
   Other than the heavy storm-driven rain that sometimes would send the Guadalupe River out of its banks, I didn’t share his frequent choice of weather as a column subject.
   No matter, he still demanded extensive weather coverage knowing there were many more readers interested in weather reports than a bunch of young reporters.
   I agree with him now that the decades have past and my interest in meteorology is far greater.
   Weather stories were a great way for a newspaper writer to learn how to pack lots of information into each sentence.
   Maps can be helpful, I learned, when I reported for the San Antonio on the rain-swollen rivers emptying into the correct rivers downstream.
   A weekly newspaper doesn’t afford as many opportunities to keep up with the weather.
   On the Texas coast, those infrequent chances usually mean hurricanes.
   Last week’s Hurricane Hanna mirrored other hurricanes not in similarities but in their differences.   
   While Hanna was a Category 1 hurricane – sustained winds of about 74 mph, the Saffir-Simpson scale says – this storm had powerful rain bands well over a 100 miles from its eye.
   On Friday, I drove to the Port of Palacios to see the shrimp boats crowding into the port basin to get out of the gulf and its raging storm.
   Port Director Victor Martinez Jr. said the basin hasn’t held that many shrimpers since Hurricane Harvey.
   Quite a site to see how some late-arriving boats fit into such small places. Kind of like a dually squeezing into a Subaru spot.
   Leaving about mid-afternoon Friday, I met up with one of those Hanna rain bands that was powering itself across Tres Palacios Bay.
   Wow, a sheet of sheer white moved quickly across the water. 
   When it hit my truck, the double-speed wipers had no effect other than force me to pull over.
   When I was an older editor at Kerrville, I had another editor why I had become so driven about stories about what amounted to a natural phenomenon. 
   Because, I answered, weather is one of those rare topics that almost everyone wants to talk about.
   I used my favorite scene in front of the post office where people gather and talk.
   Of all of the possible topics, weather is the safest, as opposed to politics, to expound on.
   As I look outside Tuesday afternoon, I figure we’ll be talking about rainfall for some time.

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