Why would I EDC a Weather Radio?

I get different reactions when I show off the items I EDC.

While, like most, I usually carry a tactical flashlight and some sort of metal tool or knife along with my keys, wallet, smartphone, and a wristwatch. My psychiatrist refuses to clear me for a concealed weapon carrying permit, but one day I might open carry my Ruger LCP. Without getting too political, I am absolutely 100% opposed to any and all forms of gun control!

As a Christian, I also carry a copy of God’s Holy Word, namely, the Bible. For doing so I get kudos from fellow believers and mockery or even hostility from worldly or lost people, but that is totally expected.

I frequently carry a scanner radio, but no one really bats an eye about that. In public, I am frequently mistook for a firefighter when I carry it.

There are two items I carry that frequently raise questions from others in the EDC community.

One item is a calculator which I can easily explain and most will accept the answer. After all, I’ve been fascinated by calculators almost as long as I have been fascinated by flashlights and that is since infancy. As a high school math teacher, my Mom EDCs a calculator or two for work, though in reality, she eschews them. However, she is the reason why I became fascinated by calculators. My Dad was a banking executive when I was born and I don’t know if he ever carried a calculator or not, because he was laid off from the bank a few months after my birth. He then switched careers and eventually became a special education teacher. Even though my Dad was a sporting goods salesman for a couple years during the career change, he isn’t into EDC at all. His Dad, my Paw Paw, was into EDC at least to some degree, although he only owned extremely budget-friendly items. My Maw Maw also carried a flashlight in her purse for as long as I knew her, until she became a shut in and passed on December 28, 2019. At one point I’m almost sure she had an old school Pelican MityLite 1900! There were always calculators around though while I was growing up and I had been carrying one on and off since the age of eight. So, even though I am fascinated by calculators, when asked why I carry them, I can quickly justify and have done so.

Another item that I continuously EDC is a pocket-sized weather radio. While no one has directly questioned my motives as to why I do so, I’m sure I at least get eye rolls when I post pictures of mine or pull it out and listen.

In this piece, I am going to give a testimony on why I personally carry a weather radio and while I don’t expect you, the reader, to follow suit, maybe my reasons for doing so will be better understood.

Let’s go back to the Summer of 1990. I was three and a half and my brother and sister were a few months old. My Mom was off from teaching school, but my Dad was at work, working as a sporting goods salesman. There had been some storms going on all day. My Mom had baked home-made biscuits earlier in the day. It’s something, I can fry chicken almost identical to Colonel Sanders Original Recipe and my Mom can bake biscuits almost identical to Popeye’s Buttermilk Biscuits. I taught myself how to fry chicken that way, mostly through trial and error but also by God’s Grace. However, my Mom got her biscuit recipe from an old Catholic monk. The storms had gotten progressively worse during the day, then our electricity was disrupted. At some point, it became dark as night though it was only midday. My Mom gathered us into the center of the house and we sat there by the light of an Eveready Commander 6 Volt Lantern. The model number was 5122.

Though I was always afraid of the weather, I don’t remember being too frightened. I think it was because I was holding a flashlight and even back then I was fascinated by flashlights. I stood in the hall eating a biscuit.

We had no idea if there was actually a tornado present because we had no weather radio.

There was a Sears transistorized AM/FM radio that was put away, but I guess my Mom was probably more focused on getting all of us to safety rather than looking for that radio.

Even if my Mom would have been able to locate that transistor radio, the battery could have very well been dead. There was no way of us to know when the Tornado Warning, if any, had expired.

At some point, the sky lightened up and the electricity came back on and I guess we took this as the all-clear.

Looking back, this probably had an impact on me and is most likely was caused me to have a compelling desire to be accurately informed.

As I am writing this, I am reminded that back in the day, weather radios were somewhat of a status symbol, associated only with the affluent. I mean they were heavily marketed to golfers, of which playing golf during a thunderstorm is quite risky, so a golfer would desperately need one. I wonder if Donald Trump ever carried a weather radio in his younger days whilst playing golf. To further back up my claim that weather radios once were and maybe still are a status symbol now, at least to some degree is that, I’ve only seen upper-middle-class and wealthy people in possession of one. I’ve never once seen anyone from the lower socio-economic positions to ever be in possession of a weather radio. I have even read an article or two about how the white upper class are almost the only ones who purchase weather radios and that poorer whites, as well as most minorities, don’t even bother purchasing one.

While at the time, my family was lower middle class and stayed there until between 1997 and 2000. Now they are almost upper-middle class.

I didn’t know there was such a device as a weather radio until the summer of 1997 when I was reading some hurricane preparedness literature.

I wouldn’t actually own a weather radio of my own until late December 2001. It was an Oregon Scientific WR-8000. Unfortunately, it killed on me in less than two years, but I did EDC it when I could.

I myself as an individual would be considered impoverished by most standards.

Yes, I’ll admit that fully.

The only reason I am able to afford a weather radio (and I do own several) is that I either purchase them on clearance as new old stock, a friend gives one to me or I buy one in gently used condition for a fraction of the cost.

Between December of 2001 and April of 2015, I had gone through a few portable weather radios, many of which killed on me, unfortunately.

I guess it is poor quality control because I did not abuse these radios by any means.

Since the Spring of 2006, I had wanted a Midland HH50B, but it would be over nine more years before I would actually purchase one.

I had some desktop models that were on constant standby as well as a Radio Shack Weather Cube as a backup.

Then one day in late April of 2015, my area was experiencing some severe weather. This weather resulted in the one and only train derailment on the Huey Pierce Long Bridge near New Orleans. The said bridge was about eighty years old at the time.

My standby models had alerted me to a Tornado Watch in advance.

Then there were quite a few Severe Thunderstorm Warnings issued.

My then-wife, now ex-wife, as usual, was watching television.

However, I told her to get dressed in case we would need to move quickly.

The amazing thing is, she actually listened to me, though this was one of the very few times she did listen to me.

A few minutes later we received a Tornado Warning for our Parish.

The sky, though again around midday, became dark as night.

My apartment manager invited the second-floor tenants to her unit which was downstairs.

My now ex wife and I left with the clothes on our back, though I had a Mini Maglite LED in my pants pocket and I also had an Energizer Weatheready 6 Volt LED Lantern in my hand.

We made our way down the stairs and across the parking lot as lightning fiercely flashed.

The sky was still dark as night.

Several of us stood in the manager’s downstairs unit, anxiously waiting for the weather to pass.

Minutes crawled by, but, then, finally, conditions began improving.

The cell service was in and out that day, so none of us could rely on our phones, for weather data though at the time I didn’t even own a smartphone. I would though, a couple days later.

Several young women were wondering when the Tornado Warning would expire.

Eventually, I walked back up to my apartment and retrieved my Weather Cube, which while battery-powered, is still basically impossible to EDC.

I stood and listened to the weather report then when the Tornado Warning expired, I let everyone know and we all went back to our units and resumed our daily activities.

That day made me realize that I should own a weather radio that I could EDC in my backpack and even in my pocket if necessary.

I knew I was going to bite the bullet and soon purchase a Midland HH50B.

A little over a month later, I was able to score one brand new with batteries for ~$10 and free shipping. Thank God for eBay! I had been wanting one for years, so I gladly purchased it with my spending money.

At the time, I was also a new smartphone user and when my new weather radio came in, there was some literature enclosed in the packaging about downloading Midland Weather Center for Apple and Android devices.

I did just that and subsequently downloaded it on almost every smartphone I have owned since.

Granted this app is unfortunately no longer available on Google Play, but it can still be downloaded and installed on Android devices if you know what you are doing.

As for the Midland HH50B, I EDCed it from June of 2015 until December of 2017 when my then-wife now ex-wife broke it in a fit of anger.

However, I liked it so much that I quickly ordered a new one and it arrived on my doorstep a few days later.

I still EDC it in my backpack everywhere I go. And if I can’t have my backpack with me but I know I will be away from home or outdoors for any given time, I will have it in my right pants pocket next to my EDC flashlight.

It has come in handy numerous times either for stand by alerts for severe weather when I am not home or for sheltering in place during severe weather and monitoring the progress thereof.

The times it has been most handy is when I go on road trips and I am the passenger. I use it in conjunction with my Midland Weather Center app and use the weather intelligence gained to assist the driver in avoiding severe storms. I’ve even used it to confirm that there were no tornadoes nearby when my Dad called and thought there were. That was on January 20, 2017 and I was traveling with a friend between Shreveport and Dallas. A day later, though, while heading back home I used my weather radio to keep track of tornado near Nacitoches, Louisiana.

EDCing a weather radio has been very beneficial and never once detrimental, so I plan to do it indefinitely

I don’t know if these reasons will convince you, the reader, whether to also EDC a weather radio or not, but I hope this piece at least validates my reason to do so.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my piece and I hope you, the reader, have been informed and maybe even a little entertained.

Thank you for reading!

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