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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Kent Bush: Six year-old son may be next storm chaser

  • My six-year old may be my next storm-chasing buddy
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  • After watching tornadoes tear through eastern Kansas and Arkansas Sunday, I have to wonder how many people really took the warnings seriously.
    I know if they got their weather updates from “storm chasers” they either stay in their storm shelter for days at a time or they ignore all severe weather threats because of the “boy that cried wolf” scenario.
    I know as the threat across central Kansas dropped, every real meteorologist and emergency management agency was doing all they could to let people know that the most severe weather threat had shifted eastward. But the storm chasers were still touting tiny Torcon values while the chance for even a sprinkle was diminishing.
    I don’t have a problem with the weather cowboys. I hope they do something worthwhile if they go out in the storms. For 20 years, I have chased storms because of the news value. Some chasers are scientists trying to improve storm warning systems.
    But most of these guys are just adrenaline junkies that giggle and squeal while taking selfies in the car.
    Don’t get your weather information from would-be storm chasers. They aren’t giving a forecast of what might happen. They are telling you what they hope will happen.
    My six-year old may be my next storm-chasing buddy. I’m not sure his mother would approve of his riding shotgun, but Dawit seems ready.
    He fashioned himself a smart phone Sunday before church. No, he isn’t the next Steve Jobs building an iPhone in our basement.
    But his year in kindergarten has made him a proficient cut-and-glue guy. Much like the guy in the eSurance commercials, Dawit isn’t impressed with Droid phones and iPhones and their two or three buttons. So his construction paper phone had numbers one through ten on it.
    When he was showing me the phone, Dawit said he was checking the weather on it. He said it was going to rain. Of course, the water splashing on the deck outside might have given him a clue as well. But he was sure that his phone told him about the rain.
    I’m not sure what kind of WiFi signal his phone gets, but his little act when I went to refill my Diet Coke was a pretty good indication that your kids are watching you and they don’t always like what they see.
    When I got up, Dawit plopped down in my chair and put his phone right up to his face and started punching imaginary buttons.
    “I’m working. I’m working,” he said. “I’m daddy.”
    Yeah, that didn’t feel good. Maybe I need to dial my inner workaholic down a notch or two for a while.
    Page 2 of 2 - Or maybe I can just hide it better. Who needs sleep, anyway?
    Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: kbush@butlercountytimesgazette.com

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