When Weather Changed History
Premieres: Sunday, January 6 at 9:00 p.m. on The Weather Channel

Weather has a tendency to make a real mess of things. How many times have you been at the mercy of the weather? Whether its getting stuck somewhere due to a storm, being unable to get the car started because of the cold, or finding yourself a victim of the sun (my fellow fare-skinned people can probably relate with me on that one). It’s a part of life and while it might affect us all in varying degrees on a daily basis, in many cases it’s had an even bigger effect on certain events in history. Unfortunately, those who have survived hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and tidal waves know this firsthand.

The Weather Channel has a new series, titled When Weather Changed History, premiering in January that will showcase certain historical events that were in some way affected by the weather. I had the opportunity to view an episode of the series and though I generally consider the subject of weather to be pretty dull, the series definitely has something to offer those of us who might not have any interest in the subject. After all, most of the time people talk about the weather when there’s nothing else interesting to talk about. But When Weather Changed History does a great job not only showing us what an impact drastic climate shifts can have on history, but also presenting it in a way that makes it somewhat entertaining as well as educational.

The episode I viewed, titled “Race to Nome” told the story of Nome, Alaska and the threat of a diphtheria epidemic that could have wiped out the population of the small Alaskan town back in the 20’s. When a number of children fell ill with the sickness, finding a way to get medicine into the town, which was virtually cut off from the rest of the state and country due to the harsh winter climate became somewhat of an obstacle to say the least. The only solution was for a number of brave dogsledding people (and their strong, brilliantly intuitive dogs) to make the 800-mile journey through the treacherous weather conditions of the state to get medicine to the town. The story is told through narration, interviews with meteorologists and local people who appreciate the history of the town enough to make the historical dogsledding journey, themselves. While watching this tale unfold in the episode, I found myself amazed and impressed at the history of this small town and what people went through to save it.

I’ll be honest; I wouldn’t normally seek out a show like this. I can’t say that I’ve ever given the history of Nome, Alaska much thought but the episode really does present the story in a way that’s interesting. And obviously, weather-buffs (I know they’re out there – my dad is one) will probably love this series.

The series premiere episode is titled “Challenger” and focuses on how the cold weather conditions may have played a factor in the devastating tragedy that was the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. It airs on Sunday, January 6th at 9:00 p.m.

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