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Meet The Weather Doctor
Hello Friends and Fellow Weather Buffs,
My name is Keith Heidorn. I produce the Weather Doctor website and its associated materials. I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you.
If you asked me to describe myself in the context of the Weather Doctor, I would tell you that I am both an artist and a scientist who is deeply involved with the weather and other atmospheric phenomena on many levels. I have had a love affair with the weather for about 55 years as far as I can recall. This love has expressed itself through my studies, my career choice, my social concerns, my recreation and my art. You see, I think that weather is the most sensual aspect of life, stimulating all my senses at one time or another and often several at once.
Urban Blizzard by Keith C. Heidorn, 2007
I was born in Chicago and grew up in northeastern Illinois where I first fell in love with the weather. If you know the area or the Great Lakes region, you will know that few places have its variety of weather extremes generally with a rapid turnover of daily weather events. Incredible sunsets, raging thunderstorms, howling blizzards and every grade of weather in between define Great Lakes weather.
My earliest pre-school memories of the weather are of thunderstorms with bright lightning and roaring thunder. Of course, I was more frightened than curious at that stage of my life, figuring that I was only safe if hidden under the kitchen or dining room table. By the age of eight or so, weather was no longer frightening but a source of many hours of enjoyment, as I watched the endless variety of passing weather as the seasons cycled by. My grade-school science fair projects all involved weather, mostly building weather instruments from milk cartons, human hairs, eye droppers and light wood. Although I briefly toyed with the idea of being a sports writer, by my later high school years I had decided that I wanted to study the weather and perhaps write about it as a scientist.
As is my nature, I read all I could about the weather during my youth. My earliest books on weather, I recall, were the Weather, A Golden Nature Guide by Paul E. Lehr, R.Will. Burnett and Herbert S. Zim, Everyday Weather and How It Works, by H. Schneider, All About the Weather and Hurricane Hunters both by Ivan Ray Tannehill, Our American Weather by George H.T. Kimble, and Eric Sloane's Weather Book. Later, Sloane's other weather books, Guy Murchie's Song of the Sky, Henry David Thoreau's writings in Walden and his various journals further opened my eyes and mind to the beauties and joys of the weather. The U.S. Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) also had a wide range of materials available through the Superintendent of Documents and I sent for every one I could afford.
But my best readings were those stories written by the atmosphere itself. I remember many hot summer nights watching thunderstorms roll in. In the winters I watched snow blow and drift in the winds swirling around the house. Weather stimulated all my senses. I loved to hear thunder and feel the wind on my body and taste new fallen snow and see the crimson sunsets of autumn and smell the rains. Weather also drew responses from me emotionally while the weather muses urged me to put pen to paper and sing the song of the wind and rain and storm.
Southwest Ontario Summer Day, by Keith C. Heidorn, 2005
I studied meteorology at the University of Michigan and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology and Oceanography in 1969. My academic studies of the science of weather did not diminish my love for the beauty and awesome power of the weather. In fact, the more I studied the science behind the weather, the deeper my weather eyes saw into the events unfolding before me. I saw air current rising to form cumulus clouds and eddying around buildings. I saw vapours rise and transform into clouds and raindrops or burst into snowflakes and ice crystals.
During graduate studies at Michigan, I worked in the field of air-sea interactions, atmospheric dispersion related to stack emissions and micrometeorology, receiving a Master of Science degree in Oceanography. I later studied at Columbia Pacific University and the University of Guelph focusing on agricultural and air pollution meteorology, eventually writing my doctoral thesis on the climatology of photochemical smog in southwestern Ontario.
For over a decade, I worked for the Ontario Ministry of Environment first as a meteorologist and later as head of air quality assessment. In the late 1970s I enjoyed doing some freelance writing on weather and weather history in my spare time. In the mid-1980s, I went into the consulting business, working mostly on air quality, wind engineering and micrometeorology projects, and eventually moved to the west coast of Canada to again work on air-sea interactions.
I was recognized by the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) as an Accredited Consulting Meteorologist. During my years as a CMOS member, I served as Chairman of the Accreditation Committee, on the fledgling broadcast accreditation committee, and on the CMOS School and Public Education Committee. The Committee fostered programs in education for the primary and secondary schools and general public education on weather, climate and oceans including Project Atmospheres Canada, a project in which I was involved. I was also a professional member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) for thirty years.and a member of the AMS School and Public Education Committee for a term in the 1980s.
The 1990s found me on Vancouver Island off the coast of British Columbia, self-employed as a consultant, educator, writer, editor and publisher and that is when I started this site and that of Living Gently Quarterly. In addition, I helped establish the Skies Above Foundation and Skies Above Canada, both focused on education on atmospheric issues particularly climate change and ozone depletion.
Since the Summer of 2006, I have made my home in Valemount, British Columbia, a small town nestled in the Rocky Mountain Trench between the Rockies and the mountains of the Columbia Range where all seasons are again evident, and natural beauty abounds.
Each morning I look at the skies above me and wonder what new and exciting event will unfold before my eyes. I find that I now have time to again watch the weather, renewing my interest in the joys of weather watching. The love renewed now deepens and expands. The poet in me has found new voice here in British Columbia. I hope that I can combine that voice with the scientist's in bringing you the Weather Doctor.
From 2000-2005, I wrote for The Weather Notebook radio show, which was carried on many American radio stations, particularly US National Public Radio every weekday. My first piece appeared on April 11, 2000 and I wrote nearly 300 scripts over the five years. Someday, I should compile them into a book.
I have written and published three books: The most recent was published in 2010, and coauthored with Ian Whiteside. It is titled The Field Guide to Natural Phenomena in Canada and the US, and The Field Guide to Natural Wonders in Great Britain and Australia. My two previous books are And Now...The Weather (2005) and The BC Weather Book: From the Sunshine Coast to Storm Mountain (2004). Both are available in North America and around the world via the Amazon websites (see below).
I also have two volumes of poetry on weather resident on the web: Song of the Storm King, a book of verse celebrating storms. and Well Versed In The Weather, a book of verse on various weather themes.
Finally, since early 2005, I started painting, a skill I didn't know I had until Julianna Illing, an artist in Victoria, decided to take me under her wing and teach me the basics of painting. I started with in oils, but I have branched out to other media, and now work more in watercolors and acrylics. Needless to say, weatherscapes and landscapes are frequent subjects in my paintings. You can find my works at Keith C. Heidorn's Art Gallery.
Since arriving in Valemount, I have spent more time painting — watercolors mostly but also acrylics, oils and pastels. I have also returned to photography, using it as an art form in itself and as a stepping stone for paintings and computer-generated art. Since moving here, I have become involved in the local arts community, serving a year as vice-president of the Valemount Arts and Cultural Society and as a director of the Crafters Guild of Valemount. For three years, I helped paint the backdrops for many of the musical presentations brought into town by the Theatre Committee including Johnny Reid and Alex Cuba. I have had the pleasure of exhibiting paintings and photographs at several local shows and at exhibits at the museum, and library, and the Canoe Mountain Gallery.
In closing, I have ended many of my letters over the years with the single word Rainbows! ! This is a shortening of a portion of a prayer I have loved for years from the Cherokee Nation. It goes:
May the warm winds of heaven
And may your moccasins make
So, to all my weather friends out there,
THE WEATHER DOCTOR IS FONDLY DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF:
The Field Guide to Natural Phenomena:
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