Thursday, August 30, 2007

Media, Government Tell Us Weather to Panic

Here in sunny Illinois we have a summer weather pattern that includes a wet period in late April or early May, followed by an extended period of a few weeks without much rain. Then, just as farmers are starting to worry a bit, we'll get a nice thunderstorm. That pattern of warm, humid, rainless days interrupted by periodic thunderstorms continues throughout the summer until late August or early September, when the first fall cold front passes through.

But it seems that the media, in cooperation with the National Weather Service, think people don't know what rain is. If there's a thunderstorm cell, announcements interrupt whatever TV and radio programming to tell everyone to take shelter. That's in addition to the top-of-the-hour weather brief and the list of affected counties scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

It's Illinois. It's summer. We know it will be hot outside, and where to find shade. We also know what to do if the sky gets dark and water starts coming out of it.

I think since 9/11, and especially Katrina, the government has become more and more safety conscious. And the Global Warming hype draws in aspects of the Earthism religion, so that broadcasting public safety notices becomes an exercise in spiritual action. The media enable this, possibly because many media types are practitioners of Earthism, but mainly because it's their business to get people worried while making themselves feel good. In a giant game of CYA overkill, they trumpet every passing cloud or hot summer day as a source of danger -- and look in on your neighbors. And if your house gets blown away, well, Nanny government told you.

It's spread to ordinary folks, as well. Global Warming disaster movies and that fearmonger Al Gore have convinced people that the weather just has to be about to kill them. There may no longer be a Red under your bed, but now there is a hurricane on your TV.

Come on. Mankind survived for years and years without knowing which counties could expect thunder, and while Dorothea needs help raking her leaves, she doesn't need me scaring her when a cloud passes by.

As for that stupid klaxon sound the NWS plays both before and after their announcements, with the volume up even higher than commercials: is there anything to do but turn the sound down?

If there's a tornado, let me know. Otherwise, leave me alone.

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Jimmy said...

But what about flash floods, Socrates? They're prevalent and deadly these days. And tsunamis? See, out here on the west coast, we have to worry about them. You could, too, if you ever got any decent earthquakes in whimpy Illinois.

The thing I hate about that klaxon alarm sound before and after is that it's always a drill. I get all excited for nothing.

Loren Heal said...

Maybe I'm the only one who likes exciting weather and stuff. I resent that they take the fun out of it by announcing "ALERT! ALERT! Cloud sighted in sky! Run for your lives!"

Jimmy said...

You're not the only one who likes storms! But ours in Washington are quite different than yours in Illinois, I think. You get more T-storms, tornadoes, snow and ice, etc. We probably get more dark, dank, rain and wind storms in the fall and winter. The sandy ocean beaches are fun to walk on in your bare feet in 40 degree, driving rain with 50 mph winds in your face.

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