Saturday, October 24, 2015

Weather Junkies



I’ll bet, like me, you consider the person who slows down to rubberneck at road accidents one of the lowest life forms. But I’ll also bet that, like me, you can’t help but glance over as you drive by; I mean, come on, you’ve already had to slow down because of those terrible people in front of you. 


          Patricia, the hurricane that was steaming toward Mexico’s coast yesterday and that was predicted to be the most devastating hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, has just been downgraded to a category one. I listened to the radio this morning as I made my pot of tea and felt a twinge of disappointment. Yes, I know, I’m awful. But I blame the Weather Channel. With twenty-four hours to fill and a channel devoted to one subject, weather has become entertainment – the more sensational the better. 


          A couple of years ago there was a possibility that a hurricane might reach us here in New England. I think that was the year that we had a tornado, a minor earthquake, and a snowstorm in October that left us without power for a week. I was a tad jumpy about the elements at that point. I sat cemented to the couch as weathermen stood in the wind shouting into their microphones. Before I could stop myself, I was putting big masking tape Xs on the windows. All we ended up with, by the way, was a few hours of rain. 


          With September’s Joaquin, there I was again, waiting to hear the worst. (At least this time I had a legitimate reason – we had a major family event in New Jersey to drive to.) And there was Jim Cantore, standing in front of rushing water, mic in hand. As it turned out, it was an ordinary waterfall at a South Carolina park and it always rushed like that, but he needed to find water for a backdrop. He was reduced to suggesting scenarios of its banks overflowing if Joaquin arrived. 


          Maybe it’s the drama of something so much bigger than 
ourselves, added to the knowledge that it’s safely far away, that makes weather events so compelling. 


          Or maybe we can just blame Hollywood.

 

19 comments:

  1. I am a weather junkie. I listen to it all and when I get up in the morning and have breakfast, I turn on the TV to watch the weather. I've discovered that mostly it never happens like it's projected to. Glad that Patricia mellowed a little. :-)

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    1. Yes, me too. Hopefully some of the devastation that had been predicted was prevented.

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  2. I live on the Gulf Coast and am familiar with all you have written. Katrina hit us hard and we were displaced from our flooded home for 18 months. We have seen the big ones and the near misses and those that completely did not live up to expectations.

    A funny thing happened about 15 years ago when we we in the cross-hairs on a hurricane whose name I can't remember. It either fizzled out or diverted - I can't remember which. Our area was covered up with various news media folks, who were left with no story. I had a scanner and was following local transmissions and heard an unbelievable exchange. A producer (?) talking to the crew onsite instructed them to hype the story and gave several suggestions of things to say. He told them it was being broadcast in the Midwest and they wouldn't know the difference. So much for any remaining shred of faith I had in news media.

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    1. Wow, what a story! And I believe every word.

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  3. Pudge just confirmed my best suspicions of weather announcers. I read a story of a couple of announcers who got themselves stranded in the midst of a bad hurricane type event somewhere and made their way back to a standing building literally hand over hand. How insane of broadcasters to put people out in such weather. We don't need to see it to believe it. Didn't Ronald Regan once broadcast baseball games over the radio reading from ticker tape. We get it guys; don't kill someone for it.

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    1. I'm so glad people are reading other people's comments. I thought about adding a paragraph in my post telling readers to take a look at it. Horrifying.

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  4. Oh Marty, I needed a good laugh this morning. You've hit the nail on the head once again. That third paragraph cracked me up! So when will your next book be out?

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    1. And do you know how hard it is to get masking tape off of glass after it's sat in the sun?
      Next book? Difficult to say - I just received a rejection from an agent on Thursday. Sigh.

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  5. When I get wet outside, I know it's raining. That is the extent of my weather following. I can't change it, am prepared for a variety and just keep on keeping on.

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  6. Pudge is right. Sadly I don't know whether the producers are the chicken or the egg in this equation. Do they feed us drama because we demand it, or have we got so used to the diet that we insist on it?
    As an aside our weather boffins are right within a degree or two about the temperatures. Rain? Looking out the window is more reliable.

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  7. If they predict a rosy forecast and then it goes nuts, are they afraid of being sued or losing their audience. Like you, I prefer to hear that things turned out alright again!

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  8. Turns out you're a good luck charm.
    Imagine what might have happened if you DIDN'T put masking tape X's on the windows.

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    1. Well, always glad to do my part.. . . :o)

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  9. There is a certain amount of over-dramatization (is that a word?) on those weather channels. Those guys standing out on the beach in a hurricane -- I mean, WHY?

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  10. Down here it was all...flash flood, flash flood!!! Danger danger. We got about 10 hours of steady moderate rain which we sorely needed.

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  11. Jim Cantore has been around forever, hasn't he?
    The weather has been mild here.

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  12. He got that job right out of college. He's 51. Fun fact for the day.

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    1. Well, the sun certainly has been shining on him.

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  13. I think we are hooked on stimulus because we get so much casualty news daily and therefore we are becoming addicted and want it more dangerous and more unbelievable.

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Thanks for stopping by and I'd love to hear what you think.