Can You Trust Online Health Information?

Old People and Weather

[PERSONAL NOTE: I've not been feeling well for a couple of days – a bad cold or mild flu (this year's vaccine missed a strain or two) – so when I take a few minutes off from napping, I'm writing easy stuff. Translation: no thinking involved.]

When I was young – I'm pretty sure that means when I was a kid and young adult but you never can tell at my age with how time passes – it irritated me that all the old people I knew were overly interested in the weather.

Not “old” like my parents, more like grandparents' ages, retired people or those getting close to it.

They discussed a coming rain storm and what that would mean for the garden. Or that a big temperature drop was expected so be sure to wear a sweater tomorrow.

They seemed to talk a lot, too, about past weather. “Remember of blizzard of '29? Now, THAT was a winter to remember.”

“And who can forget the Vanport flood.” (I may or may not have heard exactly that but it was a real flood in Portland when I was a kid.)

Over Sunday dinners, at holidays and anywhere more than one or two old folks gathered, weather appeared to be their main fascination and for whatever reason, it exasperated me so much I recall vowing that when I got old I would never bother with weather beyond knowing if I needed an umbrella or boots.

Cut to now. I'm old. At least as old as many of those old people in the 1940s and 1950s.

Right here on my computer is a link to a wonderful weather website. It allows me to bookmark any number of locations all around the world. So when I fire up the laptop every morning, I first check what weather to expect in my vicinity for the day.

Then I check Melbourne (where Peter Tibbles and the Assistant Musicologist who do the Sunday music column here live) where it is always night when I wake up along with, of course, being the opposite season from my home in the U.S.

Then it's on to New York where there remain many friends from the 40 years I spent in that city. Phoenix and Tucson, too, where for some reason quite a number of TGB readers live.

San Francisco and Los Angeles matter for friends and blog readers who live there along with London, the Washington, D.C. area, Boston and Portland, Maine where I once lived for four years.

If some spectacular weather is going on somewhere, the website usually has some excellent video. The amount of snow in Boston this winter was amazing to see - at least for someone who didn't have to drive or walk in it.

It is not lost on me that my interest in weather around the globe first thing in the morning as my coffee is steeping is just an updated version of all those old people who made me nuts about the weather when I was a kid.

Are you with me on this? Whether (weather?) you are or not, I'm pretty sure I'm correct about old people and weather in general. Why do you think that is?

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Deb: No Milk, No Cookies


I don't recall anyone's being overly concerned about the weather WIWAK - other than being able to get the hay in before the rain came; but, Hunky Husband is a nut on the weather. The weather channel is the default on his TV! He has a slight excuse in that he directs disaster responses for the NGO with which we volunteer, so he wants to know the probability that he will be called out; but, he takes it 'way beyond what I think the need to know is.

To illustrate the difference between us: If I want to know the temperature, I step outside. When HH wants to know the temperature, he turns on NOAA via weather radio, TV, or smartphone.

Of course, back in the days when I flew, I got pretty good at reading the weather from the telexed reports from the weather bureau; but, I still got caught out, on occasion - as did the professional pilots with whom I worked. Since then, I've just taken whatever gets thrown with me - carrying down jacket and shovel in my trunk during winter, always.

I don't recall a lot of weather talk either. And I only check the weather when I intend to go out or travel. And I do the same as Cop Car.
I open the door and check. And I carry a tiny purse umbrella with me in case I get surprised when I'm out.

I am concerned about weather because I live most of my life outdoors on my porch, walking or swimming. This winter was the coldest, grayest,wettest winter I can remember. And while it was wonderful to ameliorate our drought in Austin, it put me in a state of SAD for 3 months.

Would you please post the link to the "...wonderful weather website?"

When you are young, you are always focused on the next exciting transition, and not really smelling the more mundane roses (like weather). As oldsters, we've been there and done that, and our next big transition is not too exciting. But hey boy, can we smell the roses.

Here in the Buffalo NY area, we *all* talk about the weather, all the time. I never associated weather talk with old people. Now that my bones aren't what they used to be, I'm especially alert to icy or slippery conditions, but weather itself is something I've always paid attention to. When it's as changeable hour to hour, and variable year to year, as our weather is, it's always interesting.

Same here, mary jamison. I grew up in a farming community, so weather was important to everyone for making plans. As we moved around the country and our friends and family did the same, it became important to know how weather was in different places. When away at school, I wanted to know what the weather was like at home, for example. Now I walk most places during the day, so I need to know more than just what the weather is now, so I can plan ahead. That includes the wind direction, because walking into the wind when the temperature is 10 degrees is not fun - that's a day to use the car. Same for driving - it may be beautiful this morning, but if snow is moving in from cities southwest of us, that can affect plans.

The one I use is Accuweather but the other major weather sites are equally good.

I think individual preferences have to do with layout, design, look-and-feel.

By the time you become "old" (you may define that for yourselves) you have a lot of experience of life and weather and a better idea of the effects of weather on what is happening around you. So, weather becomes a predictor of what you might expect in the course of daily activities. My greater interest in the weather is related to how it impacts me and my now scattered family.

I am with you. I both remember the endless talk about it, especially during summers in Maine when four generations of women spent the weekdays, with men coming up for weekends. Weather and food, food and weather. Now, I too check the local weather and friends' around the world first thing. It makes me feel closer to them, picture their day perhaps. For myself it reminds me of today, centers me there. Too, during certain seasons I want to know what a week looks like, in order to plan trips and errands.

The weather used to be a non-controversial topic. It was something that all people (no matter what their politics) have in common. Unfortunately, now even the weather has become politicized. One one hand, we have the Republicans who are Global Warming deniers and the Democrats who think that human beings are the root of all evil on this planet. So, now I guess there isn't anything left to talk about that won't get you into trouble except maybe knitting. Knut one, pearl two. Waddayoumean Idroppedastitch.

Weather's been a permanent topic in our family. Young to old. My Dad always had some kind of "weather station" in the house from when we were kids on. Rain gauge, humidity, barometric pressure, etc. They got a little fancier as the technical aspects improved. We spent a lot of time outdoors, and on the water.

On the Northwest waters weather can be critical to your safety. Now I'm retired in a farming community and weather is a huge factor. Racing to get the hay in before it rains, freezes etc.

I still look up the weather each day although I do check outside first ;-). I check for our weather, weather in Portland OR where my sisters live who still work and have commutes.

We do get weather here extreme enough, usually heat, to require preparations to travel, play sports, or just be outside. It was 113° at my son's August wedding. They had ushers handing water to the guests so no one keeled over. Sometimes this weather brings us out of control forest fires. A fearful thing.

I've always been interested in the weather and so have the people around me. To me it's just another fascinating natural science thing. Of course, I lived most of my life in Okla., where being a weather watcher is often a matter of personal safety or protection of property, or potential damage to livelihood (crops). Not much different in Colorado, where everyone is very outdoors-oriented and weather has a direct bearing on travel and activities. In both states, weather is very changeable and can be severe. So we're always watching. It's relevant to everyone's daily life, regardless of age. One has to know the daily forecast just to dress properly in the morning.

We Brits are renowned for talking about the weather. It is our national pastime and we do it at any stage of adulthood past the age of twenty. It's sort of like a tic; we just can't help it.

To me, weather is what you talk about when you don't have anything else to talk about, so I get annoyed when it's the only topic of conversation. I haven't noticed that old people indulge in it any more than others.

My own interest in the weather is only whether it's going to rain or not, and that's because it rains a lot in Seattle and I need to know whether to take my umbrella when I go out.

Also, I have a little device that sits on my coffee table and tells me what the temperature outdoors is. Then, when I go out, I know what level of jacket I need.

By the way, I do remember the Vanport flood, Ronni. Hope you get to feeling better soon. We just finished the second round of the plagues here too.

My interest in the weather began when I was 10 years old. The night before the morning I awoke to
giant trees uprooted and the news on the radio that a hog had been run through with a 2 x 4, had been
a tumultuous time for my aunt and uncle.

I had slept through it all. When we went out to explore the damage to our hard-scrabble farm, I was utterly fascinated and said something to the effect of: "Wow, this is exciting."

My aunt scolded me for that. And, I, of course, learned over the years, her fear was what drove her words.

We now have more than words to help us know the devastation of tornados, floods, earthquakes.

I keep up with my own surroundings and those of my family and friends. I like to know as much as possible about what may be coming.

I don't always prepare adequately, but have friends who live as though in a bunker ready for famine, war, devastation of any kind by keeping a pantry filled and overflowing to the point of having to discard cans of provisions that become outdated.

Ronni, take care--here's hoping for you to "weather" this bug soon. Meanwhile, nap on.

Being from a tropical country with the yearly threats of killer hurricanes I have always been interested in weather. I chuckled when I read the title because I thought you were going to talk about old people and how their health was affected by weather. Because that is what infuriated me when I was young: old people rubbing their knees and saying that it was going to rain.

Now that I am in my dotage and living in a definitely not tropical place I carry on the tradition, except that it's my hands that tell me when it's going to snow. My sinuses talk to me about the weather too.

On that terrible morning of 9/11, my frantic sister in AZ couldn't get me on the phone here in NYC. She called my 90+ mother, who seemed unfazed by it all. "Have you been watching the TV?" my sister demanded. "All morning," replied my mom mildly. My sister explained what had happened in NYC, to which Mom replied, "Well, that wasn't on the Weather Channel."

As everyone assumes, weather in southern Arizona is hot, hotter and steaming. A rare welcome rainstorm breaks the monotony.

We always say that if you don't like the weather here, stick around 15 minutes and it will change. Or, to put it another way, only in Arizona can you use your heater and air conditioner on the same day.

My husband, Roy, was a weather Channel addict.He watched it day and night and used to talk about Jim Cantore as if he were a real friend,i.e. "I wish they would let poor Jim come into the studio and get out of that storm."

When I showed very little interest in what he was watching he would say,"Don't you want to know what the weather is today.? To which I would reply," If I want to know what the weather is going to be today, I will look out the window."

Our son, Chris, used to say that if they ever asked us to be a Neilson Family, and dad was in charge of the clicker, the Weather Channel would go directly to the top of the ratings chart.

Whenever the subject of weather comes up it reminds me of John Lithgow in "3rd Rock from the Sun" asking incredulously, "Why are people always talking about the weather...don't they have a window?!"

I cannot remember ever obsessing about weather---until I moved to the Twin Cities. I agree with those above who related weather-talk to location. Minnesotans of any age talk about weather. They have to, or they think they have to. Weather is in your face all the time here. sigh.

Next to hockey, complaining about the weather is the national winter pastime here in Calgary. We have a love/hte relationship with our Chinooks, which can raise (or drop) the temperature by 20 degrees in the space of an hour.

It's not the change of temperature but the ionization change from negative to highly positive that gets to you.

Even young people complain of migraine, disrupted sleep patterns and aching joints and muscles when a Chinook blows in - or out.

Studies have shown that Chinooks do not cause a rise in strokes[1] or pneumo-thoraces [2] but that there is a direct correlation between Chinooks and migraine onset, with patients over 50 being much more susceptible. [3] For those of us at risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm, the extreme variability in barometric pressure which occur during Chinooks increases the chance of rupture. [4]

Sources: PubMed - National Institutes of Health Public Library of Medicine

[1] PMID: 12105347 full article valuable free of charge]
[2] PMID: 19865545 full article valuable free of charge]
[3]PMID: 9100399
[4]PMID: 18584276

Only weather talk in mild California area that I've heard beyond the occasional is drought-related - the past 2 years. My guess is that will be 3+ from the looks of things.

I still miss the wider ranges and types of inclement weather from the NW, but now I look out the bedroom window each day while still in bed and gauge the weather by the level or lack of sunshine - most days anyway. Then it's either hit the floor or pillow for a quick 10 more.

Be well, Ronni!

I have a weather app on my phone. It tells me the weather of where I am, my own hometown, Fresno, San Francisco, and where my kids live, San Mateo. I check it during the day.

My car shows me the outside temperature. I keep an eye on that when traveling by car.

So, yes, I guess this old lady likes weather, too.

Yes ... weather and old people and now I'm one...

I always kept an eye on the weather since I've lived in places where the weather was immensely changeable, Wichita, Joplin, Memphis, where tornadoes could instantly be a life or death proposition. Didn't worry so much when I lived in L.A. or San Diego -- the earthquakes didn't seem dependent upon weather...

As an old person I have become physically aware of weather changes in my joints and in my sinuses and suffer greatly when the weather is in flux.

As for a topic of conversation, the weather is just an easy way to be friendly to store clerks and receptionists and assistants in doctors' and dentists' offices. If I find myself discussing the weather with someone, I know it's mainly a topic that is uncontroversial and that we've either exhausted all other topics or we really had nothing to say to each other to begin with!

I think it's because it is still one thing that we all have in common, and over which we have no control.

I've always been interested in the weather, sometimes think I would have been happy as a meteorologist. I have the free Yahoo weather app on my iPad, which shows nice pictures of whichever cities you follow. For me, in addition to NYC, that's Boston and San Francisco, where I'd rather be; Seattle, where my best friend from grad school lives; and Caserta, a suburb of Naples, where I'd probably be if my ancestors didn't leave Italy a hundred years ago. Like Nancy, I also think sometimes the weather becomes the topic of conversation when no one can think of anything else to say. But it's nice to know however dreary it is, the sun is always shining somewhere.

Living in Paris the weather is a constant issue in winter. Never go out without a wool scarf.You never know when the wind will act up and always carry a folding umbrella for constant showers.

Anyone who lives in Montreal, talks weather. It's all about how many layers you will need for each particular day, or how many layers you fling off.

Even if you enjoy skiing, you want to know what kind of snow is on the hill. Is it powder, ice, rolling balls of thunder. What?

Because everything you put on, from gloves to goggles, has to keep your insides warm in winter.

I check the weather by opening the front door at the butt crack of dawn, taking three steps, grabbing the newspaper and mumbling a few choice words if my nostrils stick together.

That's winter.

Nostrils stick means bulk up. Forget about looks. Nobody cares what you look like at minus 29 C.

After that, I turn on the kitchen radio and get the full weather report.

Then it's all about which down coat do I wear, where is my flap hat?

Clunky boots, mitts, all that jazz.

But that's our winter.

Summer is all about squeezing every single square inch of fun out of every day, until the last leaf drops.

Seniors where I volunteer, always ask me what the weather is like outside.

Every time.

Some of them haven't ventured outside since Christmas.

They say they would rather stay inside.

It''s like that back in the day tissue commercial.

Two grizzly guys in a prison cell..

"And momma always told us to stay inside."

Ah, you unleash our inner weather people. :)

My husband does the same thing every morning. He checks the weather on his iPhone for the places where his cousins live, one of our daughters lives, my relatives live, where we have gone or are going on vacation. I think it makes him feel connected to those he loves? I am not sure but I think it is fun that he does it. When we were kids, I don't think anyone really knew what the weather was going to be the next day!!!

I don't recall a lot of talk about weather when I was young, but I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area then and there wasn't a lot of variance. There was also no global warming (at least that we knew about) so some of the weather extremes we're experiencing regularly now (i.e., the wildfires and years-long drought where I once lived) weren't happening yet.

When I moved to the Pacific Northwest 40+ years ago, I started paying more attention to weather, especially RAIN since we usually have a rather generous amount of it here. Still, other than wondering if it's going to rain a lot or a little--or whether winter will bring snow, which calls for extra preparation--I look at weather as I always have: it will be what it will be.

Living in Michigan where we get a lot of snow in the winter I'm always concerned about the weather during those months. I book my life around snow falls. And just yesterday I traded in my car for a small SUV that will get around better in snow because the snow trapped me home one too many times this past winter. The rest of the year I don't pay much attention to the weather unless something unusual is going on in other parts of the world.

My late husband was like that. Watched the weather channel and checked weather sites around the globe. And he planned around it. When I wonder about the weather, I look out the window..

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