The Weather God of Oklahoma City
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Meteorology is a life or death preoccupation in the Tornado Alley of Oklahoma, and this awesome profile of chief meteorologist Gary England makes clear how much good he has done for his community.
In the eyes of most Oklahomans, England is less a meteorologist than a benevolent weather god who routinely saves everyone’s lives. He has become a cult figure: a combination of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Foghorn Leghorn, Atticus Finch, Dan Rather, Zeus and Uncle Jesse from “The Dukes of Hazzard.” There is a popular Gary England drinking game that, if followed literally, would probably destroy as many lives through alcohol poisoning as extreme weather does. (Take one drink when Gary says any of the following: hook echo, updraft, metro, Doppler, wall cloud, SkyNews 9, underground, mobile home.) In the wreckage of the strongest tornado in recorded history — the one that hit Moore on May 3, 1999 — survivors painted “God Bless Gary England” and “Thanks Gary England for Getting Us Out Alive!!” on the remnants of their destroyed houses.