I was awakened at 4:57 am this morning by the tornado siren in the neighborhood directly behind our own.
If you’ve never heard a tornado siren sound off, it’s something similar to the horn that a freight train blows as it approaches a railroad crossing or the horn that sounds (repeatedly) when the home team in a National Hockey League game scores a goal.
I was confident that no one had scored in the other neighborhood, at least not at that hour of the night, but being as I was awake away, I decided to get up and check the radar app on my iPhone to see what was going on. The radar revealed a band of bright red, orange, and yellow directly above my location on the map.
This in turn led me to do something that in recent years, I’ve typically avoided at all costs. That is, to turn on The Weather Channel to see what they might be reporting.
I’m old enough to remember when The Weather Channel actually reported on the weather, rather than show documentaries about Australian photographers tramping around in the Outback or endless shows on “The Top 10 Most (fill in the blank)“.
When The Weather Channel does get around to discussing the current weather, they do so in the most melodramatic and outrageous manner possible.
Who hasn’t seen the endless pronouncements by their “meteorologists” instructing us to “never go outside in conditions like this“, while they, in fact, are outside in conditions like this?
Who can forget the scene in which one of their reporters was shown desperately holding on to a tree, leaning forward, and bracing himself so that he wouldn’t be blown away by the dangerously high winds; only to have that moment spoiled by two guys wearing shorts, casually strolling down the sidewalk behind him?
“Pay no attention to the man behind the screen!”
Anyway, I turned on The Weather Channel. It came as no surprise that my expectations were immediately confirmed.
There she was, their leading early morning host, gleefully talking about the dangers associated with the weather system making its way across the southeast. She was positively bubbling over as videos of downed trees and houses without roofs filled the screen. She was barely able to control her excitement as she reminded her co-host that there had even been fatalities associated with this storm. Thankfully, he had enough presence of mind to change the subject as rapidly as he could.
In disdain, I immediately turned off the TV.
I returned to the radar app on my iPhone which provided me with immediate and accurate information regarding the current weather conditions. And it did so, without melodrama, outrageousness, and without needless embellishments contributed by faux celebrity meteorologists.