For the past few days I've been living on the edge ... the edge of a superstorm named Sandy.
When I take annual leave something big always seems to happen and what started off as a joke is now starting to concern me.
It started in 1987 when I was growing up in Te Puke. It was March and Cyclone Bola was approaching. We lived well above sea level with a view of the Bay of Plenty and watched White Island steam away and eventually erupt in the 80s. Later that year, our family headed to England for six months and the famous storm of a century hit.
Two months after we returned in 1988, I was out on the school field on an eerie, still afternoon when the Edgecumbe earthquake hit.
Fast forward to 1996 and Cyclone Fergus. I was in my new hometown of Te Aroha and, for the first time in my life, thought we might lose our roof. Then, a few weeks later, camping at Hahei, Cyclone Drena hit resulting in deep water closing the main roads. In 2010, I was in Christchurch and, at 4.35am, the first quake hit - the 7.1 - and I thought I was a goner.
Then this March, I emailed American work colleagues to say I'd be visiting Atlanta in late October.
As I type this, I am flying at 36,000 feet from Atlanta to Denver as Super Storm Sandy slams the US east coast.
From my hotel in Atlanta, even though I was on the outer edges of Sandy, which certainly deserved the "superstorm" title, it was a weatherman's childhood dream come true.
In a country like America, people's lives never need be lost in violent storms such as Sandy because everyone has several days' warning but that does not account for the actions of some.
In New York, just hours before Hurricane Sandy slammed into the US northeast, a jogger was taken to hospital after a branch crashed down on them. If you're dumb enough to go for a jog or some such in a superstorm, don't expect any compassion.
Either way - these past few days have been a huge experience.
Not just from a weatherman's point of view, or journalistically, but from simply seeing the power of Mother Nature.By Philip Duncan Email Philip