Mary Elizabeth Sauer isn’t quite sure when her interest in weather started.
“I just automatically picked it up,” she said. “I don’t know why. I figured since we’re in Tornado Alley, then I should actually find out more about weather.”
She pays attention to forecasts, studies daily conditions, toured the National Weather Service office next to Mid-Continent Airport this spring, started her own weather blog…
Oh, by the way: she’s 10.
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And, yes, she wants to be a meteorologist when she grows up. When she went to the Kansas State Fair last month, Mary had to have her photo taken in front of the KWCH green screen and give a “forecast.” That’s her on the right, with her younger sister, Anna.
“I thought it was annoying for a long time, because she would get so worked up about severe weather,” said her mother, Dawn. “Whenever there’s a thunderstorm, she reminds me not to take a shower or give baths or talk on the phone.
“I’ve been surprised at how much she wants to read about it and learn about it. I’m trying to work that into our home schooling curriculum this year.”
The weather blog was actually her mother’s idea.
“She writes so much, and there's all this paper lying around the house,” Dawn Sauer said. “My idea was to have it all in one place.”
Mary Elizabeth likes to offer observations on her blog – as well as plenty of safety tips. A storm that struck her southwest Wichita neighborhood on the Thursday before Easter only intensified her interest.
“We think it was a gustnado, but we weren’t for positive,” she said. “There was a wall cloud rotating. It was puzzling us….at first we thought it was a microburst, but it wasn’t.”
“I just remember seeing the dust flying through the air, and I was freaked out.”
Strong storms still scare her, she admits. But they also fascinate her. The more she learns, she says, the less scared she’ll be – and the more she can help other people stay safe.
“There’s always something that surprises you during storms,” she said.