About Wilder Weather

Barbara Mayes Boustead is a meteorologist, climatologist, writer, and aficionado of historical weather events.  Like many children in the Midwest, the Laura Ingalls Wilder book series was among the readings in her younger days.  Barbara has sought throughout her career to unite her passions of weather and climate, communication and writing, and history, and she found a great unifying thread in Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The purpose of Wilder Weather is to make the connections between weather and climate concepts, events during Laura’s time and in her books, and present or future weather and climate concerns.  Weather and climate affect our everyday lives, just as they did in Laura’s time; let’s talk about those wild weather happenings!  Questions from readers about weather and climate (in Laura’s books and otherwise) are enthusiastically welcome!

Barbara earned a B.S. in meteorology and geography, minor in mathematics, as well as  B.A. in English, minor in history, from Central Michigan University.  She earned an M.S. in meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University, with a thesis research project involving the transition of hurricanes to their non-tropical cousins.  She is pursuing her Ph.D. in Natural Resources with a specialization in Climate Assessment and Impacts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  She works for a certain weather-related federal agency as a meteorologist (forecaster) and climate program manager in her office.  She is married to “the one that got away” after playing hard to get for way too long!

9 Responses to About Wilder Weather

  1. charlene says:

    I was once married to a desendant of Laura Wilder. The family lives in Canton Ct. Janis Wilder Davidson id married to Robert Cole Davidson.

    • windbarb says:

      Laura herself had no direct descendants — her only daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, never had children. But there are plenty of Ingalls and Wilder relatives out there, and it would be interesting to know which member of her family was an ancestor!

  2. Andrea Artley says:

    Loved finding your website while searching for information about the 1880 blizzards that are described in The Long Winter. I have read these books many times but am currently enjoying it with my 9 year old who also happens to be fascinated by anything to do with the weather. I can’t wait to show her this site when she is up in the morning! Thanks for sharing your remarkable blend of interests.

  3. Kristi Alexander says:

    My children and I traveled to Kansas for Prairie Days at the site of Little House on the Prairie. I am a huge weather buff–good thing considering I live in the eastern portion of tornado alley between the Ohio & Mississippi Rivers, AKA Southern Illinois. I have been a life–long fan of Laura’s books, and my kids and I LOVED your presentation. Thank you for the time and effort you have put into Wilder Weather!

    • windbarb says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by! I’m glad you enjoyed the presentation :). Southern Illinois certainly has seen its share of wicked tornadoes, including the longest-lived tornado on record (the Tri-State Tornado on March 18, 1925). Stay safe and keep that NOAA Weather Radio handy!

  4. Pingback: LauraPalooza 2012 – Wrap Up | The Cottonwood Tree

  5. Dear Barb,
    Fascinating piece on storm chasing. You’ve done a great job of answering the question of “why you chase” with heartfelt emotion and compassion. Your story is exactly what I’m trying to capture in a TV segment I’m producing for *tomorrow* Tuesday morning for our cable news broadcast “Arise America.” In honor of the Oklahoma storm chasers who perished last week in the field, we’d like to talk you about the life of a storm chaser – exactly what you put forward in your blog.
    The segment would discuss:
    – What motivates storm chasers?
    – What’s the difference between the thrill seeker and the scientist?

    The interview would last no longer than 10 minutes and would be live during our broadcast between 10AM – 11AM Monday. You would be talking to our anchor Debbye Turner Bell.
    Also to give you a little background about Arise News. http://www.arise.tv/
    We are a recently launched international news network. Arise News is the TV arm of Arise Media, the publisher of the cultural magazine ARISE.
    Arise News covers international stories from a perspective of diversity with a heavy emphasis on the African Diaspora, wherever it is. We also strive to present diverse under-represented voices.
    We currently broadcast out of three hubs in New York, London, and Johannesburg, South Africa.
    Thanks in advance for you time and I hope we can discuss this opportunity.
    Steven 646-670-8811

  6. Meghan Callahan says:

    Hi Barbara-

    I work with Lowe’s and we are looking into a project to do some DIY projects in the cities that were hardest hit this weather and loved your winter weather index. Wanted to see if you could jump on the phone to discuss 1. What are the top 10 this year and 2. See if you would have any interest in working with us on this project.

    My number is 404.260.3510.

    Thanks so much!

  7. Brenda S Yost says:

    I just read the book Choteau Creek – a book set on a Sioux reservation in South Dakota and in it there is a long winter story (1949). wondering if this is the cyclical “long winter” of Laura Ingalls Wilder… there was a reference in the book to this… hmmmm just curious one weather junkie to another!

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