Here’s The Forecast…

So, one of the prompts for Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop was, “Something you wanted to be when you grew up.

MondayWeatherMap

Yes, a weatherman. Not a meteorologist, because that meant having to know physics and stuff. No, a weatherman on TV. Like PJ Hoff or Harry Volkman (who passed away recently). Here’s what real meteorologists look like on TV. (I’ve shared this before, I’m sure.)

I loved that show, by the way.

Until about thirty years ago, weather was five minutes during the newscast, usually limited to a weatherman using a simple map to explain what had been here and what was coming, followed by the forecast for the next 24 hours. If there was bad weather in the area, you might get a “special report” where the station would break away for a minute so the weatherman on duty could tell you where the severe weather was and where it was going. Or it might just be a crawl at the bottom of the screen. There wasn’t the equipment they have today, nor the weather people with the knowledge and sophistication to understand what was happening and who could tell you not only that a storm as coming, but when you could expect it to arrive. Now, if there’s bad weather, the meteorologists take over the show and pre-empt everything until the storm is past.

And if things get really bad, this is what you can expect.

I talk about weathermen, but there were lots of women who did the job, too. Like Marcia Yockey, for years Evansville, Indiana’s favorite weather forecaster. I saw Marcia do the weather once, when I was in southern Indiana visiting a client. She was a real trip.

Now there are whole cable TV channels dedicated to reporting the weather. In the US, we have The Weather Channel, started by another former Chicago weatherman, John Coleman. The station has changed a lot, particularly after being bought by Comcast, who owns TV network NBC. NBC decided to change the focus of The Weather Channel, and soon you could see anything on there except the weather. Naturally, people have found alternatives to the channel, so they recently announced they’re going to change their focus back to the weather.

I don’t think I’d want to be a weatherman today. I don’t even watch the weather on TV anymore; I can check Wunderground or Accuweather on my iPhone, and when the weather turns severe, I go to Twitter to get the latest. People all over town post updates as the storm progresses. For some reason, I trust that just a little more than what I get on TV.

But I still miss the days of the old weathermen.

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

10 thoughts on “Here’s The Forecast…”

  1. Your post got me thinking. I don’t really watch the news, but if I did it was quite often that I would tune in just for the weather. Now I google Met Service in new zealand for the tides and thats about it. I can rely on facebook for any major updates, like the tsunami warning we were issued with last night, “possible tsunami at around midnight” as a result of the Chilean earthquakes. eeek! Thankyou for your informative read. 🙂

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    1. You’re welcome. I tend to stay away from television news these days. I think they deliberately make it as depressing and try to keep everyone nervous. Nowadays, you can get the weather just about anywhere.

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      1. Oh, I agree whole-heartedly, John. I feel like the weather has become just as sensationalized as every single news story that comes down the pike. I am sure it is meant to bring in viewers, but it has had the same affect on me as you. I have turned it off and walked away!

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  2. You didn’t mention that you chase twisters for a hobby. The college age people studying weather with their eyes on someday being a TV forecaster were just crazy to go chasing after weather events like tornadoes, hurricances and so on. 😉 I also agree weather forecasts on the local news are overly dramatic. Even if the Atlantic basin is perfect clear of anything, they can’t seem to stop themselves from saying, “But if anything tropical does come up, we’ll be sure to watch it for you.” They just can’t leave well enough alone. (I live in Florida.)

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    1. Back when I first thought I wanted to be a weatherman, tornado chasing wasn’t an option, at least not that anyone talked about. I’m not sure I’d want to do that, anyway.

      The way I figure, I have a NOAA weather radio that goes off when the National Weather Service thinks I need to head to the basement. In almost 28 years in Georgia, I can only remember one instance where I had to do that. The TV meteorologists here go berserk when it snows; it’s almost funny to watch.

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  3. Just an example of how far we’ve come in forecasting weather: in the late 1960’s I was stuck in a snow storm coming home from work while listening to 780am from downtown Chicago. I live in the northwest suburbs. The weatherman was telling his listeners that, luckily, we would not be getting any snow in the Chicago area!

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  4. I’m afraid if they made me a weatherman, I’d be the gal sent out in the middle of a hurricane to show the viewers just how windy it was. It’s a hazardous job!

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