We search online for ‘weather’ far more than for ‘sex’. Is this urge to know the forecast an innate need, or more?

Full disclosure: I am a weather tragic. I have, since the age of five, been completely obsessed with the weather. The trigger, as I recall it, is also one of my earliest memories. I woke up one morning to see my suburban Melbourne street covered in a white blanket that I assumed to be snow. It turned out that there had been a hailstorm, and the ice soon melted. But at that moment I was captivated by nature’s special effects.

As soon as I could read I developed a newspaper habit that began with the weather pages, intrigued by not just the forecasts but also the maps. To the surprise of my family I insisted, at the age of eight, that we get the Australian delivered because it was the only newspaper that featured detailed weather forecasts for all capital cities. I also watched the weather reports at the end of every TV news bulletin, listened to them on the radio and, if home from school, the broadcasts of the rainfall and river heights every day at 12 minutes to two. My idea of a fun day out was a trip with Mum to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Melbourne office, where I would be given photocopies of monthly weather almanacs and climate stats by attentive, if bemused, staff.

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