Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Take Cover Immediately!

Here we are barely into the first days of March and already, the Silly Season of Weather has been thrust upon us. I saw it coming on the local Fox station before we were even out of February, when the newscast opened with big blazing red letters not unlike the ongoing weekend special at Keystone Chevrolet, proclaiming BREAKING WEATHER! Dear Weatherman, when a line of spring showers has been moving across the state for the last eight hours, it is OLD NEWS. It is not, repeat not, BREAKING WEATHER!

Look, this is Oklahoma, tornado alley, where the wind and rain come sweeping cross the plain every single spring. We live here (some of us reluctantly) and anyone with one good eye and half a brain knows that there will be occasions in the next two or three months when there will be thunderstorms, usually with thunder and lightning. It’s a given fact. It happens every year about this same time. Please, please do not light up our TV screens with angry red blotches for hours at a time. We can see the lightning out the front door. We can hear the thunder. We can watch the rain bounce off our driveways.

Last Sunday, one of the stations had a helicopter in the air to watch a rotating cloud in KANSAS. Kansas for pity sake. It wasn’t even in the state of Oklahoma. The cloud was closer to Wichita than Tulsa. Let the Wichita stations worry about it. But no, our meteorologists follow the bands of red all the way to Missouri, Arkansas, and beyond, probably even to freakin’ Mexico if they could. The thing is, all the stations have invested a lot of money in the latest technology and by golly, and they’re going to show it to you, like it or not. The weather guy following the Wichita cloud, kept apologizing for interrupting Sixty Minutes, but he did it at least six times.

“We have no choice but to stay with a tornado,” he said, the concern etched in his face. The implication being that the FCC or some form of government will dispatch a demolition team to blow up their antenna and yank them off the air unless he continues to babble like a tree ape. Yes you do have a choice Mr. Weatherman. You just cut away a half dozen times. Now cut away again and let’s watch the damn show.

Here’s an idea: designate a channel, a local frequency, just for weather. Each station could take turns, say a week at a time, being in charge of the broadcast. When severe weather approaches, run a crawler along the bottom of the screen directing us to that channel, but only for those that are fascinated by moving red blobs.

Okay, okay, I’ll admit it, I would like to know if there is a tornado over my house or if chunks of ice the size of grapefruits are about to fall from the sky. In that case, you can interrupt my programming even if they’re airing Miss Nude America. Thank you very much.

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