TV and Radio Coverage of Bad Weather, Ridiculous or Not?
We've all seen 'um, those field meteorologists covering bad weather. Out there broadcasting live to hundreds of thousands of people in the middle of dangerous weather conditions. Ridiculous or not?
Before we dive into this, let's first give credit where credit is due. Without weather experts who predict threatening and/or deadly weather conditions, there would be loss of property and human life in communities around the world. God bless them all for bringing us vital information that helps save people.
But let's talk about the field meteorologists and broadcasters who go live on the air in the middle of weather conditions they tell us not to be in.
During one radio broadcast out of New Orleans during recent Hurricane Ida, a Walter Cronkite type announcer was insisting everyone stay off roadways in New Orleans and surrounding areas. In a tone that might sound like a conversation, you might hear a parent and a teenager having about curfew. And in the very next sentence says, "let's go live to our crew who had a tough time making it to Slidell (a city just outside of New Orleans). It wasn't easy but they made it. How's it look out there?"
Then, you turn on the television and a meteorologist from a respected network is on Canel Street (a major street that separates the French Quarter from the CBD in New Orleans) standing in a way that looks as though the wind is about to blow him away as he shouts into the microphone. Protected only by the rain jacket the network gave him. Meanwhile, a couple of guys walk right behind him during the live shot and they look like they're taking a casual stroll. Their hair is hardly blowing.
Now the climax, the storm hits. The wind is blowing with the force of a jet engine and the rain is coming down in buckets, now what do we see on television? Men and women from various networks putting on helmets and rain gear and walking a hundred feet from a covered area out into the middle of the storm. Couldn't they be in a protected area while the camera person pans away to show viewers what the weather's like? Or does having these expert weather broadcasters in the middle of a storm give us at home the theatrics we need to fully grasp the intensity of what's happening?