Weather to Exaggerate or Not


I can’t take it any more. The alerts, the interruptions to programming, the weather updates crawling along the bottom of the screen are too much for me. The StormTeam-Extreme-Weather-First-Alert-StormTracker-Breaking-News folks are driving me nuts.

Weather is big news. It’s become the biggest part of local news. If you watch WCVB, my station of choice, the weather leads the news, then gets a nice 5-minute chunk in the middle, and then, just before they end the broadcast, the weather guy gives us a summary of the forecast. During the Noon broadcast, they don’t even do sports…they just do more weather.

Heaven forbid there be thunderstorms within 200 miles of Boston and the weather geeks go all in for updates, the “Get our Weather Alert app” appeals begin and the incessant crawl along the bottom of the screen starts.

Ya know, we don’t live in tornado alley. I don’t need a notification on my phone that a tropical storm just off the coast of Africa, that has virtually no chance of ever reaching Boston, has been given a name. Nope, not information I need immediately.

And it’s not just local news, the national news outlets are doing the same thing. Every night, they talk about extreme weather, super storms, tornado clusters and the like. The Weather Channel has started naming storms – not hurricanes, just regular winter storms.

A temperature of ninety-six degrees is not enough, now meteorologists need to talk about the heat index, so they can flash 101 degrees on the screen – three digits are infinitely more dramatic than two. In February, they’ll be doing the same thing, instead of 12 degrees we’ll be hearing about wind-chill – “but it feels like 134 degrees below zero.”  It’s all so dramatic and over-the-topIMG_3056 (1)

It’s like grade inflation but with weather. Everyone got used to hurricanes, so now they’re “super storms.” It’s not a blizzard, it’s “Juggernaut Juno.” It’s not a thunderstorm, it’s “severe weather.”

It used to be the weather guys ’n gals would get all geared up for snow storms. They’d put their flannel shirts on, fire up the Winter Weather Storm Force graphics package, and shove some poor part-time reporter out into the storm. But now, it’s everything. They gear up for soaking rains, severe drought, a beautiful sunset, you name it and they’re in overdrive. The tone is earnest, the updates incessant and the weather radar in the corner is continual.

Harvey Leonard, I love you but take a breath. Relax. I know it’s New England and things happen fast…but, really, you’ve got to tone it down a little. A line of thunderstorms falling apart as they move easterly through New York state is not a big deal. There’s no reason to get all amped up about it.

I’m sorry weather folks, I refuse to be scared of all the weather all the time.

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