Six degrees of Dave Dahl

Sarah Jackson and Dave Dahl

What a difference the weather makes! Just a few degrees change in temperature can turn a cleansing spring rain into a most unwelcome accumulation of treacherous spring snow. Precipitation of any kind can snarl a commute, making us late for engagements large and small — or leaving us in a ditch.

On the other hand, an afternoon of sunshine, especially after a morning of grey, can lift our spirits, boost our gardens and even benefit our local farmers.

Such meteorological nuances affect us in subtle—and not so subtle—ways every day.

This is especially true in Minnesota, where our temps can swing 50 degrees in a 24-hour period — and where true catastrophe can strike when tornadoes touch down. This makes our radio and TV weather forecasters hugely important. Sure, weather apps are there for us every second, but meteorologists’ frequent updates — and knowledgeable interpretation of weather data — can ensure our safety when done right.

Perhaps no one knows this better than this month’s well-known cover star — the tornado-chasing, Harley-riding, father/grandfather, philanthropist-educator and all-around charming guy who is Dave Dahl.

For more than 40 years, Dahl has guided us through our state’s bizarre Midwestern weather, telling us what to expect and how to prepare, while also uniting us in the universal experience of dealing with the elements.

Meeting Dahl, who is still going strong at 5 Eyewitness News, was a treat for me — not just because I got to see him in his element, wearing a one-of-a-kind leather jacket, riding his Harley-Davidson Screaming Eagle 103 down the streets of Stillwater.

It was also because he’s just a down-to-earth kind of guy. Despite his success, he’s been through struggles in his life, too, including multiple bouts of skin cancer and a gnarly motorcycle accident that left him hospitalized.

While we were on the sidewalk in Stillwater taking pictures, excited passersby all noticed him immediately. And the way he responded — so genuinely with his trademarked warm smile, without a hint of vanity — you’d have thought he was the mayor of the town.

Dahl, 65, told me he’s not ready to retire from broadcasting just yet, but he’s excited to eventually ride his motorcycle more often with his wife, Julie, (she has her own) and to enjoy their soon-to-be-newly renovated home in Stillwater.

For now, Dave will keep his forecasts coming in what he calls our state’s fully developed “theater of seasons.”

“To me, Minnesota is one of the greatest spots in the world to get a variety of weather situations,” he said. “Honestly, I’d be bored doing weather in Los Angeles.”

We understand, Dave. But could you do us a favor and bring a little of that L.A. weather our way?