How my crush and Atlantic hurricanes take you to your happy place

A sometime resident of Key West, I have a much-used NOAA weather radio.

This year's record-breaking number of Atlantic hurricanes have made it the centerpiece of my existence here.

Bright yellow and smaller than a box of chocolates with an emergency flashlight and lots of extra dials, it sits by a window to keep the solar cell charged. 

Every time I switch it on, I cycle through each of the seven weather bands. 

Six are all static and I can only get anything off the first one. 

It's also got extra signal bands.

"Weather, FM, AM, SW1 and SW2."

I can't do much with the SWs, despite trying many times with many different radios over the years. 

There's a hand crank, too - in the event my trusty AA batteries expire before impending doom arrives.

When a storm starts forming in the Atlantic, I turn it on and enjoy a momentary surge of, "Well, this was a good idea."

After the satisfying static snap signaling I have power, the National Weather Service man's voice emerges from behind a shroud of static. 

The first few seconds I spend fiddling with the antennae and turning dials like the pro I'm not.

Finally, a clear signal.

The voice that delivers National Weather Service alerts is modified giving it a slightly inhuman, yet oddly soothing inflection.

Calmly dispensing timely information up to and through potential catastrophe, it's like a formless weather angel guiding you through the storm. 

The voice never changes, even as things get dire.

You change.

Fear and anxiety ebb and flow.

If you've ever been in a hurricane or any natural disaster, you know.

And I sincerely hope you don't know.

The voice hundred of thousands, possibly millions hear before whatever is coming arrives (or just misses) targets three fundamentals worth noting.


It's designed to get you into the mindset of "I will take action," without provoking, "OH NO! It's the end of the world!!!!!" panic.


It tells you what to do. "In the event of a Tornado go to a central room in the house." Or "Keep cell phones well charged," and so on.


If you're listening to my National Weather Service crush, your environment is about to change dramatically and perhaps lethally.

You get an instruction set to survive that change or safely exit.

"Evacuate now." or "Beware of flying debris and flooded streets."

If you are:

Not feeling how you want to feel. 

Not using skills that bring you joy or

You're not where you want to be or heading in that direction...

  1. Mindset

  2. Skillset

  3. Environment

are the dials to tune.

Start turning them and listen for the voice.

From under sunny skies today,


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