(image by kennethkonica)
A Television Snow Job
by Walter Brasch
With more than a foot of snow, sleet, and ice falling over much of the nation, the television news teams went into overdrive. This may be an accurate description of one of those minute-by-minute broadcasts.
"I'm Harry Hansom. Co-anchor Polly Prattle just called. Her car slid into a ditch about eight miles from the studio. Fortunately, she had her roller-blades, and is skating furiously to get here so she doesn't lose a day's pay. We begin our Team Weather Coverage with chief meteorologist Hugh Miditty."
"Based upon detailed computer analysis and extensive satellite monitoring, available only through our exclusive Poplar Eye-Witless Weather Watch System, we can report that the high temperature this day was set way back in 2008. It was 50 degrees then. Wow! That's real high. The low was set in 1994 when the temperatures plummeted to a minus 8. But with any luck, we'll be able to break that low point today our tomorrow. The cause of this record-breaker is an upper level atmospheric low-pressure system that formed just east of Phoenix, traveled north to I-80, then cruised east where it hit dead-center with another low-pressure system coming north from Spring training in Florida. Or, maybe it began in New Jersey, and then ran a doughnut of isobars around Pennsylvania. As you know, a lot of bad things begin in Jersey. It's also possible it began in Canada, because all bad weather begins in Canada. Anyhow, before the storm leaves our area to drop two feet of hail on Bermuda, we'll have anywhere from five inches to three feet of snow and sleet. Or, maybe, we'll just have a foot or so of acid rain that'll burn the paint off every car in a hundred mile radius."
"Thanks, Hugh, for a report that got real deep. We continue our extended and comprehensive team coverage of the snow emergency with Flake Sepulveda."
"From high atop our All-News Roof, I can tell you there's a heap of snow out here. Let me fight the bruising wind and go to the edge of the roof and take a closer look. It appears . . ."
"We've lost communication with the roof. Let's check traffic with Barry Blades in HeliCam 2."
"It's real white out here. I can't see the road, but it looks like I'm a little south of Manitoba, and up to my rear rotor in snow. I'm also running out of fuel. Back to you, Harry."
"For a ground-level view, we go LIVE to Susie Sweetwater."
"I'm standing in the middle of a large parking lot. It seems to go on forever. The drivers have kept their motors running, but for some reason they aren't moving onto the interstates."
"Susie, I believe you're standing in the middle of I-80. Have you seen any snow plows yet?"
"No, but that white stuff is all around me. As you can see, only my Gucci snow hat is visible at the moment. If my dumb cameraman hadn't broken his leg trying to get 100 pounds of equipment out of the all-weather WFAD News VW bug, we'd have even better pictures of nothing."
"Thanks Susie. Now to Bob Covina, LIVE at the headquarters of that place where all the equipment is. Bob, we understand there are thousands of cars on the interstates, and crews are nowhere to be seen."
"That's right, Harry. It's a matter of safety. It's dangerous for the workers to be out in this kind of weather, especially when there's all those cars, buses, and trucks they'd have to dodge on the interstates."