The troubles that plague TV meteorologists in tornado-prone areas showed up here in southern Virginia last night (Wednesday 5/10). A storm along a warm front quickly spun up into a rotating supercell with a hook echo just after 8 pm east of the Lynchburg area.
The local TV mets provided live coverage of this event which was particularly dangerous because (a) it was after sunset and (b) folks in this part of the nation aren’t attuned to severe weather even during daylight hours.
Those same TV mets have been blasted unmercifully for breaking into precious prime time TV programming. As long as the tornado wasn’t in THEIR backyard a lot of folks apparently got irritated that the weather professionals were trying to keep other people safe and perhaps even save lives.
I’ve seen some sincere recommendations for how to avoid breaking into TV programming, including sending people to the station livestream or Facebook Live events. The invalid assumptions behind such recommendations are numerous:
(1) Everyone does NOT have broadband internet and/or a robust cell signal available for watching a live stream, especially in rural areas. It’s either not available or it’s not affordable by everyone.
(2) Not everyone is on social media or has a smartphone, especially in these same rural areas.
(3) Much of the demographic in southern Virginia – again, outside the urban corridors – is older and still depends upon television as the primary source of news and weather.
Given all the rhetoric about inclusivity and being understanding of everyone’s diverse needs how have we gotten so selfish and self-centered in this country? I could go on but I’ll stop here.