The Meteorologists Start Salivating (2002)
From "Bad Weather Men" by Tony Kornheiser:
Men salivate at barometric changes. We rush to the windows, pressing our snouts against them like basset hounds to see lightning. Scratch any man, and an inch down you find Al Roker.
Instinctively, I switched on the Weather Channel, where I learned we were under a Severe Weather Advisory. Yes! A violent thunderstorm with 70 mph gusts and hail the size of eggplants was around the corner, and it would be here in 10 seconds. I read the advisory aloud, like a World War II air-raid warden: "Stay inside and away from windows."
The women in the house did just that. I did what any man would do: I walked onto the porch and brought my faithful, albeit whimpering, dog with me.
"Stand by my side, Maggie, and together we will face the apocalypse," I declared.
"Are you crazy?" my wife called to me.
What can I tell you? It started with the caveman, this primal urge to go out in a storm and become a human lightning rod. My friend Tracee grew up in Kansas, where tornadoes are common. "My dad always made my mom and me go to the storm cellar. Then he got in the van and started driving around," she shrugged. To this day during thunderstorms and tornadoes he drives his van downtown and sits in the bank parking lot on Main Street -- underneath the cover of the drive-through window so the hail won't damage the paint job, of course -- and watches small animals blow by. My friend Monte, who's from North Carolina, said that in summer thunderstorms his dad enjoyed driving around and splashing through huge puddles. "He sounds like an Airedale," I said.
Men can sit for hours and watch video of a Force 5 hurricane, especially when it slashes into a beach-side house, crumbles it into toothpicks and washes it away. Ha! Take that, Mister Rich Guy Summer Home!
From, yes, "Weather Man Poems":
And if I'd say, "The rain will freeze
And break down all the wires and trees,"
They'd grab my neck before I ran
And choke the pesky Weather Man.
From Green Castles in the Sky:
Stupid tornado warnings. I wish they wouldn't even announce a tornado warning unless it is about to land on top of my house. It freaks me out. The black sky and hail is enough to clue me into the fact that a tornado could occur...I don't need the dumb weatherman saying that Cherokee county is under a tornado warning. My coat closet is small enough without me and 3 kids sitting in it.
Maybe the blogger above would have been more enthused about forecasts if she'd been watching this guy [video link]...
Weather Is My (Thug) Life
From NewsLab Articles:
It's getting to be hat time of year. When television forecasters start talking about "the white stuff." When every approaching storm could be "the storm of the century." When the newly arrived local anchor, dressed in a spiffy station-issued parka, offers helpful hints on how to drive in snow to viewers who already know.
The trouble is that even a hint of severe weather often sends stations into overdrive, with team reports, special graphics, and dire warnings of what's to come. In March a year ago, stations in Philadelphia, New York and Boston had the audience in a swivet over an approaching "winter blast of historic proportions" that TV forecasters said was threatening to dump more than two feet of snow. As it turned out, the blizzard missed the East Coast almost entirely, leaving lots of people with an unneeded stockpile of milk and batteries, and a feeling they'd been deceived.
Cartoon by Dan Piraro
And, finally, even the (real?) meteorologists are pissed off -- at themselves? -- about the weather overkill trend. From Weather World -- Meteorologist Sound Off by Fred Gadomski:
There is a disturbing trend that I like to call weather-hype. I'm sure you've seen it on your local or national news. A reporter, bundled against the chill...a few flakes falling made more dramatic, of course, by the stark television lights. How are people going to cope, the reporter intones, with latest onslaught from the dark, oppressive forces of the weather? The images show folks at the supermarket buying those essential white things...bread, milk, toilet paper. This is followed by interviews with weary citizens...the occasional reference to climate change and the obligatory warning that forecasters are watching the potential for still another storm in the future...yes, they are always watching another storm... and another chance for the media to hype the weather.
The ready-made weather story is just too easy... and it encourages a kind of breathless exaggeration of common weather events that leaves the impression of an atmosphere gone haywire. Yes, there are big storms and they deserve the media attention...but there have always been big storms. But now, I'm afraid, the media is making the weather more threatening than it is... just so that they can... during those all-too-frequent commercial messages...sell more soap...and, of course, bread, milk and toilet paper.
Why does every spring shower have to be heralded on TV as an approaching plague of locusts? I still remember a local weatherman reporting on a mild night thunderstorm. He was standing in the drizzle and dressed in his station-logo-emblazoned slicker -- hood up as if Hurricane Ivan was about to crawl up his back. Behind him, a hazy light blinked yellow on and off. He arched his brow, leaned into the camera, and with the gravitas of Edward R. Murrow, said: Yes, Tiffany...I'm afraid...this..traffic light...is......OUT....