Ed Note: Readers you are in for a treat as Tom Cervenak, Visitor Services and Marketing Manager for Virginia State Parks, weaves the story of how he came to work for parks and what his career has been like. This series will run nine chapters, with many of them split into two parts.
Chapter 3 Weather or Not (Part 2)
The second time I was truly awed by a storm was the blizzard of 1978. At the time I had a paper route, 2 full city blocks to deliver a paper once a week. Well darn it if that storm didn’t choose to hit on that day and exact hour I had to deliver the papers. It started out as a warm heavy rain with winds gusting well above 40mph, but before I was half way done, the temperature plummeted by about 30 degrees and it was a driving snow storm. It was the kind of storm where you had to walk at a forward angle or you would have gotten blown over. By the time I was done delivering the papers the ground was completely covered with snow, as was I. The storm howled on through the day with hurricane force winds that produced snow drifts over 12 feet deep. Wow, what a storm.
It was really cool, unless of course your school never cancelled classes and you had to go, like ours.
Well I was into weather and had developed a “television personality” and it just so happened that my Uncle Ed was General Manager of Channel 5 in Cleveland, thus an “easy in” on a career as a weatherman. I even took a Meteorology course in college and got an A, finishing 3rd in the class in making daily predictions over the course of the quarter. But alas, I wanted to be a Park Ranger and live in the woods, working on Yogi to leave the picnic baskets alone so families could have a nice visit. I did find, however, that my knowledge of the weather and reading the sky has come in quite handy in my career, especially when leading canoe trips.
Next came 2 years, or was it 5 years, I’ll never forget, I think. The College Years…