Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The strange phone call and the ongoing mystery of weatherman Dave Dahl’s school buses March 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 11:46 AM

WHEN I AM BAFFLED by something, anything, I am bothered by my lack of knowledge or understanding. That’s me, the inquisitive journalist, the creative writer, always wanting to know.

So, here’s what’s bugging me today.

Last evening, my husband answered our phone.

“I’m stuck!” an elderly woman said when he picked up. He thought at first that my mom was calling for help. She wasn’t.

“You have the wrong number. Who are you trying to call?” my husband asks after determining this is not his mother-in-law.

And then he’s asking me, “What are the assisted living places in town?”

I look at him like “Who the heck is on the other end of the phone line and what is going on?” I draw a blank on facility names.

When a stranger called last night not remembering where she lived, my husband turned to the "assisted living" listings in the phone directory yellow pages.

So he grabs the phone book from a kitchen drawer and starts rattling off names to the stranger until, bingo, he gets the right one. Soon he hangs up and I hear him punching in a phone number. Then he’s giving someone his name, explaining that he just received a call from a Dorothy in room 2XX who says she’s stuck.

The person on the other end says she’ll check on Dorothy. And that’s it.

So, I am wondering: Who is Dorothy? Where was she stuck? Why did she call our number? Why couldn’t she remember where she lives? Did she get the help she needed?

THEN LATER, I am puzzled once again. We are watching the 10 p.m. news on KSTP TV when weatherman Dave Dahl comes on. He’s still using graphics of school buses in floodwaters to illustrate flooding in Minnesota.

One of the first bus flood graphics weatherman Dave Dahl used in his KSTP TV flood forecast .

About 10 days ago, Dahl started using these particular bus illustrations. When he isn’t on the air, the buses generally aren’t part of the flood forecasting.

My husband and I are mystified by Dahl’s usage of this artwork.

What do school buses have to do with floods? This inquiring mind really wants to know.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


6 Responses to “The strange phone call and the ongoing mystery of weatherman Dave Dahl’s school buses”

  1. randy Says:

    I figured this bus thing out. It’s a special FEMA bus that is sealed on the bottom, so it is buoyant and is fitted with a propeller. They can drive it into flooded areas to get flood victims, pets, even livestock. Buses like this will probably be used in the Red River area, or Stillwater and other communities to ferry people across swollen streams and rivers.

    Seeing this picture makes me wonder if schools still close for”mud days” when the roads are muddy and culverts washed out.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Brilliant, absolutely brilliant, Randy! Of course, you’re right. This has to be a FEMA bus. Your explanation makes total sense. What a great marketing strategy on FEMA’s part to get Dave Dahl involved in promoting this rescue unit.

      As for closing muddy roads, I suppose we’ll need to wait and see if Dave Dahl features buses entrenched in mud during his weather forecasts.

  2. Dawn Tietz Says:

    Not sure about the FEMA possibility, Randy, but one never knows!!
    Actually yesterday our road between Morgan and Franklin closed due to the river rising and flooding. Our shuttle buses to and from Franklin are now going through Morton. This is taking an extra 10 minutes for sure. I have heard that it is only an inch of water over a little bit of the road, so we could actually be one of those school buses if the highway department would allow us to go through!

    Have you tried contacting Dave Dahl at KSTP to find out what the deal is?

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      No, I don’t think that could be your bus driving through an inch of water on a road, Dawn. Dave Dahl’s buses appear to be in much deeper water.

      Randy has suggested that I e-mail Dave Dahl, but…I don’t know if I want to inquire about anything that may be FEMA-related.

  3. Neil Says:

    I’m with Randy – why don’t you contact KSTP and ask them? Now you have everyone who reads this blog wondering… and we want to know (albeit probably not as much as you do)!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Ah, the suspense is building and readers are wondering. I’ll see if I can’t get an answer for all of you curious folks regarding the school buses. Hang tight. It may take several days to get an answer.

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