My daughter used to be addicted to The Weather Channel. She switched it on as she was getting dressed, and fell under the spell of the goofy background music they play during the "Local on the 8's" segment. (An odd child... Me, I'm partial to the AccuWeather bloopers page.)
Okay, so TWC production values are a little sketchy, but when bad weather threatens, it's good to dial them up.
This week, TWC is airing its "Top Ten Weather Events of 2008" series. They're not saying in advance exactly what they are. They want you to watch, of course. But the first - No. 10 on their list - aired last night. It was the March 14 tornado that struck downtown Atlanta. (The rest will air during the 7-8 p.m. and 8-9 p.m. hours, weeknights through the 19th.)
You know Hurricane Ike, the one that cleared parts of the Texas coast near Galveston, killed dozens and caused billions in damage a couple of months back, will be a contender (if not a shoo-in) for No. 1. TWC meteorologist Mike Bettes has his own list, which looks like a reasonable one for 2008.
How about an All-time Top Ten Weather Events list for Maryland? Here's a start, right off the top of my head. Feel free to rearrange them, or submit your own favorites.
1. Tropical Storm Agnes June 1972
(for sheer destructive power and lasting impact, here and elsewhere).
2. Blizzard of February 2003 (right) (For beauty, civic disruption and inspiring community spirit).
3. Tropical Storm Isabel September 2003 (For damage, surprise and surreal images).
4. Hurricane Hazel 1954 (Much like Isabel).
5. Great Hurricane of 1933 (the one that cut the inlet at Ocean City and changed everything for the resort).
6. Drought of 2001-2002 (For duration, crop losses, mandatory water restrictions).
7. The Knickerbocker Storm, January 1922 (98 fatalities in theater collapse in DC).
8. Heat wave, August 1918 (For 100+ days and sheer misery pre-air conditioning).
9. Ice storms of January-February 1994 (For the icy misery that wouldn't stop).
10. La Plata tornado, April 2002 (Top photo; for power, speed and staggering destruction).