- Don Barone, Outdoors
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I have to tell you, I grew up on the weather end of one of the Great Lakes ... Erie ... I know all about "The Weather."
I know for a fact if Mabel in Cleveland decides to water the spring tulips in her front yard, right over by the porch there, well, then down at the weather end of the lake, we dudes in Buffalo are going to be going to Easter Mass in a blizzard.
Meteorologists call it "Lake Effect."
Personally, I blame Cleveland.
Really big storms, I definitely blame "The Michigan Effect." The Weather Channel seems to be late to this party though. But trust me, if Mark Zona dumps his extra large cup of McD's ice on some boat ramp in KVD-Land, down at the weather end of the lake, we dudes in Buffalo get another ice age.
So I actually take all that back, seriously thinking about it in a strictly non-personal scientific method kind of way, I apologize to you Cleveland for all these years of me wishing you would keep your weather to yourself. You know, now that I realize what the real cause of it all has been.
In Buffalo, we actually get "Mark Zona Effect" snow.
So yesterday, once I heard we were going to have "WEATHER," the first thing I did was make some secret type calls to a network of anglers I have all over the place, my personal weather spotters, and I asked them all the same question (replicable scientific method):
Having spent a lifetime downlake of the dude, me down at the weather end, him up at the weather starting end, getting a handle on the "Mark Zona Effect" is like my own personal Farmer's Almanac (in this case the Zona Almanac).
But no one knew and I wasn't about to call his wife, Karin, and start asking since that might freak her out when she finds out that back in the day she actually married a weather event with a mullet.
My brand new $29.99 Weather Radio (line W on that tax thing I'm sending you IRS guys) turns itself on by its own self and starts yelling at me about "WATCHES," and "WARNINGS," which whoever you are at the other end of radios that turn their own self on, you don't need no fancy confusing words like a "WATCH" or a "WARNING" because just the fact you can turn MY radio on with YOUR hand while your hand is nowhere near it IS IN ITSELF ENOUGH OF A MESSAGE FOR ME TO GET THE HECK OUT OF WHERE THE HECK I AM.
So quit with the confusion, just turn my radio on by yourself and say either this, "RUN," or "SIT."
How hard could that be.
Then this mysterious radio yells at me this, " ... severe weather coming from the west at 55 mph with peak wind gusts measured in access of 70 mph."
Great, somehow Zona slipped into Mississippi without me knowing it and I am once again on the weather end of a "Mark Zone Effect" storm.
Snake and Storms
Here it is I am ... I'm in a full hookup shoe box in a wind tunnel. I have huge flat sides and the wind is whipping down Pickwick Lake and I'm one of the first things the wind greets.
BAM ... well howdy db, welcome to Alabama in spring.
Aerodynamic I'm not ... neither ME or the db/bb/rv.
What's it like in here ... it's the equivalent of being in a bass boat caught in big waves and being five minutes from your tournament check-in, which unfortunately is 7 minutes away ... Bang ... Bang ... Bang ... bangbangbangbang ...
So I do exactly what I'm told to do by the radio yelling at me to seek shelter.
I go outside.
Take some pictures.
Photographic evidence of the "Mark Zona Effect" storm.
Now here's a tip if you are thinking of being a storm-chaser, don't always look up, be mindful of the ground around you, because as I'm moving toward the storm, the more intelligent creatures on the planet, even those without the advice of screaming radios that can turn their own selves on, are moving away from it and seeking shelter in where we should stay seeked.
So LOOK DOWN, too.
Because as I'm trying to focus the camera on WIND, I see this little movement out of my can't-quite-focus-on-anything-anymore eye.
When I look down I see a more intelligent creature heading my way and quite possibly heeding the magic radio shouted warning of seek shelter and is looking at ME as THE shelter.
And the smarter creature is a snake.
Now all you smarty-pants out there who want to know what kind of snake it is, know this-- frankly, I don't care what the zoological term for what it is that's crawling at me, dudes, IT'S A SNAKE.
What more do you need to know? It's not like it could be maybe a snake or maybe upon closer inspection, a COW ... it's a freaking snake ... don't care what family of snake it is, I know this, it's not in my family, and I'm leaving.
So, it's Snake Elsewhere as far as I'm concerned.
Move down the bank some.
And now I know we got some serious stuff about to happen because a whole bunch of the Elite anglers are full-speed skedaddle back.
I have this simple rule of thumb, the more air under the bass boat, the more trouble I'm about to be in.
So I go back inside just in time for the magic turn-its-ownself-on radio to once again start yelling at me, and this is what it yells, " ... from eastern Alabama, a flash flood watch has ... "
No. Ahhhh. Jeeze.
Zona's in Georgia ...
Don Barone is an award-winning outdoors writer and a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association and the Outdoor Writers Guild of the U.K. You can reach db at www.donbaroneoutdoors.com.
Don Barone: Hangin ON!