Gray skies and foggy winter mornings last forever around Sacramento. As do endlessly hot summer afternoons. Truth is, weather is loved and hated by Northern Californians. We were born to complain about gray skies and fog and heat, even though we have the best weather in the world. I know this because I have my own personal weatherman, a guy named Mark Finan. He works as chief meteorologist for KCRA 3, which means he provides weather information to the masses. But I think of Mark as my personal weatherman because we talk four times every day when Mark does live weather reports for the radio station I work for, KFBK.
Weather was a mystery science to me until I hooked up with Mark. I didn’t realize a certain type of wind (north, I think) makes allergies worse by shoving pesky pollens south along the Sacramento Valley. I didn’t know leaves turn brown because they’re in distress from lack of water. A weather idiot, that’s what I was.
I assumed weather was responsible for all sorts of trouble, from heat stroke to frostbite. From Mark, I learned weather is not guilty. Weather-related bad stuff happens only when people are unprepared for weather. Indeed, weather’s merely the scapegoat.
Even though I talk to Mark four times a day, I don’t know much about him. I believe he likes baseball and golf and seems to have a deep wisdom regarding vineyards. I know it’s dangerous to poke fun at the weather around Mark. He maintains zero tolerance for negative weather remarks. And his rebukes can sting. Once, I made a silly remark about an “unbearable heat wave.” Mark reduced me to rubble, noting the weather was completely normal that week. He had numbers to back him up.
In spite of Mark, I’m still mystified by one aspect of weather in Sacramento. I don’t understand the obsession people (other than farmers) have with sunshine and clouds and fog, wind, rain and low-pressure systems. I’m astonished at the resources local TV and radio stations throw at weather. I’m impressed by the status enjoyed by media weather personalities such as Patty Souza at News10, Dave Bender at CBS 13, and Mark and his Channel 3/Channel 58 colleagues.
Our weather addiction is bizarre because there are only two types of weather in Sacramento: cloudy with patchy fog and a slight chance of rain, or sunny with a slight chance of wind. It really is the best weather in the world.
Or, as my weatherman Mark likes to say, “Another really good-looking day.”
R.E. Graswich co-hosts the afternoon news weekdays with Kitty O’Neal on NewsTalk 1530 KFBK AM radio and reports nightly for CBS 13 news.