God save us from the consultants! Last night with great fanfare, another one of the local TV stations "re-branded" its weather product. They are now the STORM TRACK station!!!!
A few days ago I blogged about how everything's a storm now. An inch of snow? STORM! A couple tenths of an inch of rain? STORM! A good day to fly a kite? STORM!!! And your family will not be safe unless you are tuned to THIS station, to get the latest breathless information from our fully-professionally-trained-and-credentialed SCIENTISTS.
As my wife, herself a recovering TV reporter, dead-panned to me last night during the big re-branding announcement, "prepare for constant interruptions every time it gets cloudy this summer". We have a huge-screen HDTV in our media room, and she knows one of my pet peeves is the constant interruptions from the local weather folks every time there's a thundershower within 275 miles of Madison. "It's headed right at us! It will be in Sauk City at 7:57; in Middleton at 8:01; and in Madison at 8:04!!! Keep your dial set here!! We'll break in immediately if necessary!!!" And seldom is it not necessary for several break-ins.
Here's what probably happened. The folks at the (now) Storm Track station were barely recovered from their Thanksgiving turkey hangover when their consultant flew into town, and realized that the other station now goes into STORM MODE when flakes of snow are falling from the sky. "Why was I not told about this!!! You can't sit back and let them take the weather position in this market! We'll need to blunt this thrust by coming up with something even more scary!!!". Or words to the effect.
Hence, STORM TRACK is born, and rolled out shortly after the demise of the New Year hangover.
Years ago, a man named Elmer Childress did the weather on the Storm Center station. I don't think he had a degree in meteorology. He had a couple decades of experience watching the weather carefully in Madison, and more than a passing acquaintance with fronts, troughs, isobars, and things like that. He never said stuff like "putting our super doppler radar into storm detection mode, and advancing it through future-track and pinpoint doppler rainfall indication mode, it appears that the estimated chance of measurable precipitation will be in the 10 to 20 percent range for the next 12 to 18 hours". Elmer would say "looks like a nice night and a good day for a picnic tomorrow". I'm pretty sure he understood local weather just as well as the young folks today with their UW degrees and multi-million-dollar weather systems. Probably better.
He just made it a lot easier to understand, and never ever exaggerated any aspect of the forecast. Consultants would hate him.