The Cumberland County Farm Bureau presented 3B Media staff meteorologist Steve Norris with their “Friend of Agriculture” award during their annual meeting Saturday.
It was for his 40 years of providing weather forecasts to farmers in the area.
“I was honored to receive it. I have farmers call me all the time inquiring about what the forecast looks like for rain as well as dry conditions,” said Norris.
“During the hay cutting season, many need at least three days of dry conditions to get it done. The forecast is a great help to their planning, and it is tough to call at times.”
The desire to provide local and area farmers came at the same time his desire to be a weather man started.
“I remember when there were bad storms here when I was a kid. My family and I got into the car to get away from our mobile home and drove to Main Street to see and wait out the storms. There is where I developed a love and passion for weather.”
Steve started forecasting weather as a senior in high school in Crossville in the 1970s. “My teacher would let me out of class early to be able to do the weather. Everyone seemed to enjoy hearing it.”
Norris has seen all types of weather events and temperatures he thought would not be seen in Crossville. “I remember when the high temperature hit 104 in 2012 and dipped down to -25 in 1985. Also, the blizzard of 1993 was a milestone event, as well as the hailstorm of 1990. It dropped baseball-size hail and left widespread damage in Crossville and Cumberland County, including something special to Steve. “It broke my unbreakable rain gauge,” Norris said with a chuckle. Steve also remembered several tornadoes that hit Cumberland County over the past four decades. From 1957 to 2015, weather officials say 18 tornadoes hit Cumberland County. The worst was November 10, 2002, which left four dead and injured 18 in the Lake Tansi area.
No matter what the weather is, Steve is always watching and keeping the many who depend on his forecasts informed.
Steve was born with MD, a muscular debilitating disease that has kept him confined to a wheel chair his entire life. But his physical challenges have never slowed him down on getting the weather information out to listeners.
During the Cumberland County Farm Bureau presentation Saturday night, a story was shared about Steve regarding his forecast of tornadoes.
“There were times Steve would show up to the radio station with chicken nuggets when a tornado watch was issued,” said disc jockey Dave Bartley. “It turned out to be a constant thing with him. Whenever he got inside the studio and we saw the box of chicken nuggets, we knew then the weather was going to be interesting.”
Steve has called many tornadoes on the ground live on air and each time he had the chicken nuggets!
The Cumberland Plateau is known for having its own weather and many times it changes in minutes. Steve Norris is always on top it and provides the very latest in forecasts not only to the farmers but to everyone in the area.