The Great Snowstorm That Wasn’t… West Texas Isn’t Alone With Media’s Weather Panic
So---what gives? Seems like when we were kids, Meteorologists were more accurate at predicting exactly what would happen with bad weather. I realize that forecasting the weather isn't an exact science. But the technology has advanced tremendously over the years.... Enhanced Doppler Radar, sophisticated storm tracking software that projects models of storms, Vehicles equipped to the teeth (if vehicles had teeth, that is) with tons of equipment used to storm chase and interpret data. Yet here we are. Funny memes all over social media with weather maps that say "1 to 89 inches of snow possible"... Because it's happening EVERYWHERE. Not just in West Texas, but all over the United States...
For whatever reason--media--when they don't have headlines for promos to scare the willies out of us in any other way--turn to panic about the weather and get everyone all riled up. Sensationalizing weather headlines to make people think the end of the world is near isn't smart. It causes panic. It sends people to stores to stock up--then when you go to the grocery store and there's no bread, there's no chicken, there's no eggs or milk or toilet paper because people think they won't be able to leave their houses for several days due to the impending weather doom... This causes problems. Schools close in advance to keep everyone safe, doctor's offices close to keep employees off the roads and at home safe, and appointments that people had to wait for to arrive for WEEKS can't happen because they're closed... It's not always easy to get an appointment to see a doctor because they're booked out so far in advance. This doesn't help matters. Putting lives and people's health in jeopardy. I had a Cardiologist appointment today that was made over a month ago get canceled due to the office being closed. Weather PANIC.
ALL IN THE NAME OF RATINGS.
And I say PANIC because today--it wasn't justified. Not in this author's opinion, anyway. Were the roads a little slippery? YES. But I was able to make it all the way across town at 5 am from home to the radio station going 40mph. People forget they can't go the speed limit or way over the speed limit like they normally do on Loop 250, 191, or 20 so they end up in a crash because they don't drive to conditions. If ya slow down, it's doable. But that part isn't on the weather people. It's on US to drive responsibly.
At some point in this country-we're going to have to regain some sort of regulatory control over the news media so that they stop sending people into a frenzy over things like this. The political stuff and racial stuff is bad enough... We don't need weather panic on top of it so that you can score some points in television ratings. It's extremely irresponsible and unnecessary. It's like the boy who cried wolf. Over time you're desensitized enough that if and when the big storm hits, you won't believe it's really headed this way. And all we can do, as radio stations who get the data from other sources who have weather labs and meteorologists (we have neither) is to share the information we get. The folks who compile the information and share it either need to be better at it, like their predecessors were--or get out of the game.