Weather Records Fall: Where’s the Story in That?

I’m late posting this article because of the weather.

Yeah, that’s one of those chestnuts right up there with “the dog ate my homework.”

But it really was the weather.  We’re finally getting some thunderstorms and intermittent rain in our area.  Of course, it comes down too fast and hard to soak into the hard soil the drought has dealt us, and most of the water causes a few hours of flash flooding before it runs off.

Every time I get ready to access the internet and upload a post, the weather radio sounds off, only slightly less loud than the thunder announcing the hundreds of lightning strikes overhead.  The rain rolls in from the horizon like an opaque sheet sweeping across the fields.


Sweeping across the fields


So I turn everything off and unplug it before I wander away to find something else to work on.

Big deal, you say.  Other places have rain and lightning, and you’re telling us that’s a story?

Well, yes.  It is a story, if you choose to see it that way.

In this small corner of the world, we’ve been setting records for longest period of heat at the highest temperatures for June, longest period without rain for July, lowest amount of rainfall for the month, and for the year.  And on it goes; every day a new record falls.  Most of these are records set back in the 1930s, while today we broke a record for heat and heat index readings set in 1913.  One hundred and nine years ago.   Believe me, there were many other records that also fell on the way to exceeding that 1913 record.

Maybe the biggest story lies in what you might discover about your city or state when those records were first set.  It’s not about the weather.  It’s about the lives and livelihoods changed by that weather.

How big was your town in 1913?  Or in 1931?  What was the main occupation in your county at that time?  How did the weather creating those records affect the people living in your area back then?  What happened to the families impacted by the devastation of drought and heat so many years ago?  Who profited from the weather, and who broke and gave up?  What was going on in the rest of the world while the weather wreaked havoc in your area?

How were the problems created by the weather different a hundred years ago than they are in this technology-driven, electrified world?  Do our modern advantages make it harder on us when dealing with the weather, than it was on our ancestors?

There’s a story to be found in everything.  You have only to set your mind to the research necessary to dig it up and plant it on your pages.  You’re free to present it as fiction or nonfiction.  It’s your prerogative to choose any genre you desire.  It’s entirely up to you how you weave the facts of those long, hot summers into your plot.

And you thought there was nothing to say about the weather.  Are you up to the challenge?  Can you create an interesting tale tied to the weather?  I’d love to see some of the records being set in your area… so leave a comment and we’ll commiserate with each other.

2 thoughts on “Weather Records Fall: Where’s the Story in That?

  1. Hey Suzanne,

    This is a great post. As a fairly new writer, I still struggle when it comes to including weather in my stories. It can play such a huge part in our lives, especially natural disasters, I can’t believe I forget to give clues on what the season is at least! It would also be a great idea, as you say, to base a story on weather.

    1. Hi Yesenia,

      Yes, as writers we tend to get so excited about plot and action, that we forget to place our characters in a location and environment. It helps to remember that we experience life through our five (or six, depending on your awareness) senses and our emotions. We can have our character see the sky darken, hear the crack-sizzle of lightning, feel the spit of rain against their face, smell the ozone in the air before the storm and the fresh scent of the rain-soaked garden after it passes, and taste the rain dripping off his nose. Then he can walk through his field of corn and feel gratitude for the desperately needed water in the middle of the drought.

      Do you have any relatives or ancestors whose lives are or were severely impacted by the weather? There’s the start of your story. Can’t wait to read it!

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