The ‘perfect storm of hyperbole’ aka Hurricane Sandy aka ‘Frankenstorm’ will likely turn out to be more hype than harm. Nevertheless, the Weather Channel is getting ready to do what they do best–keep the populace informed about severe weather. They’ve done it so long and so well they’ve turned it into an art form–or at least they did a great job in the past. Now they’re playing the hype and hysterics game like every other media outlet.
On air meteorologist Vivian Brown said that unlike many of the less specialized media outlets trying to flog ratings with their hysterical coverage of the storm that the Weather Channel doesn’t play that game:
“We want you to know we are not hyping this storm, OK? We don’t do that at The Weather Channel because we want you to be alert and aware.”
Meteorologist Brian Norcross seemed to contradict that with this borderline hysterical assessment:
“Our goal has been to get people to appreciate the magnitude of the storm and try to prove to them that, based on everything we know, that this is going to be a system that is outside of their experience.”
Maybe out of the experience of the average Northeasterner, but people living along the North and South Carolina coast they deal with several storms like this every year. Some are worse than others, but they deal with it. Of course since this is impacting the Northeast all of a sudden it’s THE WORST THING EVER!
The Weather Channel further fanned the ‘Frankenstorm’ hype with a Tweet that read more like a pro wrestling promo than a serious weather forecast. They called Sandy “an extraordinary storm, an extremely serious threat” and one that “will occupy a place in the annals of weather history as one of the most extraordinary to have affected the United States.”
The Business Insider retweeted the message with the quip: “WHOA. The Weather Channel meteorologist just completely freaked out.”
It’s important to respect Mother Nature and the severe weather she serves up. It’s important to know the ‘big picture’ risks and the individual risks that you face due to your own living situation. But ever since Hurricane Katrina the media freaks out over hurricanes and since anything that happens in the Northeast Corridor is THE WORST THING EVER the hype over Hurricane Sandy has reached a new low. As a veteran of countless hurricanes, tropical storms, etc. here’s my advice–be prepared, don’t do anything stupid and don’t freak out. The media will freak out for you.
Here’s a live stream of the Weather Channel coverage of Hurricane Sandy: