November 20, 2008 in City

This forecast calls for overzealous forecasts

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Well, it looks like ol’ Jack Frost will soon be nipping at us like a pack of aggressive panhandlers in the downtown Spokane business core.

Yes, winter is on the way.

And just like each and every year, the entire region is likely to experience the occasional flurry, perhaps a blizzard or two, a run of pipe-bursting low temperatures and highways icy enough to host a Chiefs game.

But before any of this happens, I’d like to once again make a heartfelt appeal to our TV weathercasters:

Please – for the sake of our sanity – try to STAY ON YOUR MEDS!

When the flakes start falling, could you at least not foam at the mouth and act like the region has just experienced an end-of-the world cataclysm.

Hey, I’ve read the Bible.

Well, parts of it, anyway. But enough to know that there are a lot of afflictions worth hollering about.

Locusts, for example. And plagues. Oh, yeah. And rivers turning into blood.

But I don’t ever remember “winter” being listed as one of the signs of the Apocalypse.

So stop jabbering at us like monkeys on meth.

It’s also insulting when you play nanny and remind us to wear gloves and dress warmly before going outside.

We know it’s cold. That’s what happens during winter in the Northwest – it gets cold.

Oh, I know you weathercasters are very proud of your ability to present the day’s forecast with better special effects than the “Matrix” trilogy. Those satellite images of storm systems look like giant city-devouring amoebas.

Remember those golden days of television? The weathercasters of yore didn’t rely on green screens or Doppler radar or fancy digitized gimmicks.

They just stood grinning in front of big crudely painted cardboard weather maps that were covered with signs that stated things like …

“Snow.”

Or sometimes …

“Fog.”

Simple, yes. But it conveyed everything a viewer needed to know.

The weathercasters never listen to a word I say, of course.

So here’s my forecast: They’re going to keep right on ignoring me and do what they do every year.

As soon as the snow hits, every station will send a camera crew to the bottom of Freya. And they’ll leave those luckless saps there until a) they all freeze to death or b) they videotape a car sliding down the hill.

Once the stations have the footage, they will replay it over and over and over – all winter long – until we’re all seeing the image of the same careening Honda in our sleep.

The same sort of thing will happen the first time the freeways freeze. Out will go more hapless camera crews, this time to interview some state trooper who assesses the rising rate of fender benders by saying …

“The drivers were driving too fast for conditions.”

No duh.

Just once in my life I want to hear a cop tell a reporter that the accidents were caused by drivers going “too slow for conditions.”

That would be worth airing.

Don’t you weathercasters understand?

We’ve seen the interviews with the weary tire shop workers struggling to keep up with the rush of idiots who waited until the day of the first storm to buy snow tires.

We’ve seen the stories about brave snowplow drivers who rush out in the middle of night to clear the streets and leave impassable glaciers in front of our driveways.

We’ve seen the stranded motorist stories. Ditto the risk of heart attack from snow shoveling stories.

Here’s another suggestion: Give us something new.

I know. Send a crew down on East Sprague in late December. Interview the hookers on what they do to keep warm.

That would be a lot more entertaining than the typical snowblower story.

Oh, and one more thing. I swear I’ll pull out what’s left of my hair the first time one of you utters the phrase “white stuff.”

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at dougc@spokesman.com.


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