The Weather Channel gets to 'Braving the Elements' with 'Turbine Cowboys'

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In 2011 alone, there were a dozen weather events that each caused $1 billion of damage in the United States. And while word of extreme weather signals to most of us that it's time to head for cover, for a few brave souls, it means that it's time to head to work.

The Weather Channel's new docudrama anthology "Braving the Elements" is a series of 30-minute specials that takes you on the job with -- and into the lives of -- people whose "offices" are the great outdoors, come what weather may.

"Lights Out," which premiered in March, follows the crew of Entergy Arkansas, who restore power knocked out by ice storms, tornadoes and thunderstorms, often before the danger has passed.

Tuesday (April 17) brings the debut of "Turbine Cowboys," profiling the men and women for whom the possibility of electrocution is all part of the job as they build, repair and maintain the modern-day windmills that are spreading like eco-friendly wildfire across the land.

In June, get a bird's-eye view of the Big Apple skyline with the "Iron Men" of New York Local 361 and Local 40, the world's most respected ironworking unions, who brave unimaginable heights and unwieldy weather conditions as they traverse steel beams hundreds of feet off the ground to build and maintain the city's legendary skyscrapers, bridges and stadiums.

Most of the workers have harrowing stories of close calls, personal injury and the tragic loss of colleagues -- but they're bound by something far more inspiring.

"Pride. A lot of pride," ironworker George Berry says. "We say, 'We don't go to the office; we build the office.' "

"Why cross the country in a wagon train and go to the West Coast?" turbine worker Robin Ham adds. "What was the drive that made them go there, go the distance? We know down the road it's going to help America, help us. You gotta have a reason you're doing it for -- and I'm thinking that's a good reason."
Photo/Video credit: Weather Channel