Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Everything's a Storm

Among the local TV weather mavens, everything's a STORM or a STORM SYSTEM now. They're forecasting one to two inches of snow for Madison today, and it's a STORM, coming out of a STORM SYSTEM that's going to drop five inches of snow up north.

This gradual move to the imperative is driven largely by consultants, who keep telling the TV's that you win or lose based on your local weather. If you can scare people often enough, you can convince them that their lives are in peril unless they're glued to THIS channel to see THEIR weather.
A few weeks ago, the CapTimes published a survey on whether people thought the local weather folks hyped everything, and five of six respondents answered "yes!". This is the sort of information that never seems to reach "the consultants".
One of the local channels goes into STORM MODE seemingly every time the sky clouds up. Madison has always been the epicenter of nanny-statism, and the weather fear-mongering plays well with that crowd. The deep-voiced man on the local TV weather promos assures you that your family will be SAFE if you keep your dial set on this channel.
Ever notice how the word "chance" was abolished from local precipitation forecasts several years ago? They used to say something like "cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain". The Weather Channel still says "chance"....but for the locals, the word is "risk". The word "chance" was abolished by the consultants, who told the local weather mavens that "chance" is not scientific. "Risk" sounds scientific...and lends much more perceived credibility. Risk is calculated by professionals with college degrees. Chance is what you take in Vegas. So now, there's a "30 percent RISK of rain/snow". Unless you're watching the Weather Channel or a network news broadcast.
After all, your family's well-being depends on watching THIS channel.

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