Above is the Tampa, Fla. radar on The Weather Channel as it appears now. 908 PM is the timestamp, and it's now 9:14. It looks like a bunch of thunderstorms clustered around Orlando (big surprise - one thing I remembered from Disney World during our honeymoon were all the lightning rods on every friggin' building), and a bunch of activity offshore. It's centered around a low pressure just off the Florida 'west coast.'
In other words, it looks little different from the radarscope as one might see it on any given night during the Summer months.
On Weather Underground's tropical site, this area is named "Invest 93." As they term it, "This area of disturbed weather has the potential for tropical development." Okay, fine. People ought to watch it just in case it develops into something ugly.
SO WHY IN THE NAME OF WILLARD SCOTT IS THE WEATHER CHANNEL TREATING THIS THING AS IF THE PANHANDLE IS ABOUT TO GET A DIRECT HIT BY A CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE??!!
I'm in an Atlanta hotel room with the typically limited TV options. I punched over to TWC because in spite of their having developed into The Weather Reality Show Channel, it's still better than the bat phlegm which passes for network television today. If I had my speakers with me, I would've turned the TV off and plugged in my trusty Tal-Pod MP3 player.
They have Jim Cantore in Pensacola, and I'm sure they have all their other Dan Rather wannabes en route to other Gulf coast destinations.
I'm getting really sick of this "on the scene" hurricane reporting. Really, really sick of it.
One of these days somebody is gonna regret their bravado. Anything can happen when one stands in a 70-MPH tropical storm. Hurricane Dennis comes to mind. TWC had one of their "On-Camera Meteorologists" standing somewhere in Pensacola, hugging a telephone pole so that he wouldn't be blown clear up to Montgomery. Behind him was a stop sign, and it was wobbing back and forth ... looking as if the wind was gonna uproot it any minute.
What if that stop sign -- or another piece of debris -- had done something really unpleasant? Like a decapitation on live TV.
I hate to say it, and I'm sure I'll be held accountable at the pearly gates for saying this, but I sometimes catch myself hoping for this to happen. I'm afraid that's what it'll take to return some sanity to weather reporting.
Hurricanes are serious business, and these TWC thrill-seekers do no public good. Tonight, just watching Grand Wizard Gunga Jim Cantore, I can see it written all over his face: I'm bored. This has been a boring year. C'mon, let's cook this thing into a hurricane ... please? We need ratings. Katrina, part deux? Anyone? Anyone?
Meanwhile, back in the studio Alexandra Steele just reiterated that this low pressure is NOT tropical in nature.
So why doesn't Mr. Cantore just go home?
Ciao for niao.
--Talmadge "Category ZERO" Gleck
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