"Winter Storm Falco: How Much Snow Will YOU Get?"
"Black Death OUTBREAK"
"10 Cities The Could Run Out Of Water"
"Earth's Greatest Killer Finally Caught"
"Indiana Groom Killed On Wedding Night"
"Plane Explodes, Free Fall Caught On Camera"
"Do YOU Live In America's Unhealthiest State?"
"YIKES!: Earth's Ugliest Cannibal"
"Find Out When Your Friends Are At The Risk of Bad Weather"
"Most Terrifying Runways"
"16 Germ-Infested Places And Thing [sic] You Need To Know"
"The Germiest Places In Your Home"
It goes on and on, and that's not including the actual weather forecast. If the National Weather Service doesn't have an actual weather warning to issue, we now get weather statements, the title of which is displayed in the same red box. The first time I saw this, I imagined two people standing in a bus line in a light, drizzling rain. "Looks like rain," one says. "Nice day for it," the other replies. Instead, this is part of what was issued:
"CONFIDENCE IS GROWING THAT ANOTHER WINTER STORM WILL AFFECT THE AREA FRIDAY NIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY. THERE ARE STILL LARGE DIFFERENCES IN THE WEATHER MODELS AS FAR AS PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS."In other words, "Could be, could be not..." This required a red-box that's supposed to be reserved for serious conditions and urgent warnings?
And what's up with their maps? So Somewhere, USA is predicted to get a foot of snow. The instruction on the map will read, ACTION, but what action can they possibly take? Stay indoors and enjoy a day off? Race to Walmart? We have heat nowadays, people. And lights, and pizza delivery. Besides, it just a foot of snow. I was in New York City during the Blizzard of 1996. I awoke that first morning and opened the drapes on the sliding glass doors to see nothing but a wall of snow greeting me. Guess what? My hosts shoveled me out. Meantime, I made coffee, ate breakfast, and turned on the TV. David Letterman took a dog sled to work that night and other stout-hearted New Yorkers skied around the city, going about their normal routines. Now, that was an extreme storm, not the one we got last week that barely dusted the ground. But still, people bought into the hysteria, racing to and from the local Walmart, then gluing themselves to the Weather Channel and eat their bread and Velveeta sandwiches and drink their glass of milk.
And another thing. Nobody names storms. Nobody except the Weather Channel, that is. Real news agencies avoid this, rightfully reserving names for truly significant weather phenomenons, like tsunamis, tornadoes, and hurricanes.
I also wonder what all these overwrought, Henny Penny forecasts cost our nation's economy when so many people take time off from work and school, cancel appointments, and don't go out to do their usual shopping. My foster sister lives in Alaska. If Alaskans acted like we do farther south, that state's economy would freeze up beyond repair in record time.
The real danger in all this, of course, is that, eventually, people will stop listening. After 2" of rain or snow is forecast as possibly a foot of dangerous ice, they'll quit paying attention. Then, when a genuine threat hits, they won't bother to prepare. People are like this, trust me. Aesop knew it 2500 years ago. As he astutely observed, "No one believes a liar, even when he's telling the truth."
Last year I started cutting out everyone and everything that has an agenda of creating hysteria, fear, or just plain drama in my life. I've moved to AccuWeather. Compared to the Weather Channel's hysteria, they're delightfully sane and rational. Just the facts, m'am. Just the facts.
When did we Americans—we who crossed a massive ocean in wooden matchboxes, then pioneered a continent with little more than our bare hands—turn into such wussies? We're like kids hiding under our bed when Dad comes home.
Maybe I just answered my own question. Make no mistake, there's a wolf chasing the sheep, but it's not a snowpocalypse or Snowmageddon, it's this country's news and weather agencies fueled by ratings, consumerism, and politics.