I’m going to start by saying that this was, by no means, a small rain shower. I mean, it rained and it rained hard. And there was some wind; some gusty, dancing trees kind of wind. But it was, by no means, anything near what the local media or the Weather Channel said it would be.
I got caught up watching the Weather Channel to see how bad they thought it would be. As a resident of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, I had an interest on whether or not my house would still be anchored to its foundation over the proceeding twenty-four hours.
There were several ‘weather-type’ anchors scattered about the East Coast from Kill Devil Hills all the way up to Atlantic City, each trying to show how mighty nature can be when it comes to a hurricane.
Which brings me to the reason for this post: the mass hysteria caused by the media hype.
While I believe that being prepared is a good thing, I don’t think that preparedness should include buying all the diapers they can find or putting masking tape all over the windows of their houses. My wife and I did go out early Saturday afternoon to get a few odds-n-ends stuff for the weekend but we weren’t buying anything because of the hurricane. We were buying it because we were out.
This type of hysteria I like to call the French Toast Festival. The human race goes through the same sort of thing when there is a forecast for a few inches of snow. They are prepared to cook scrambled eggs and toast or French toast but that’s about it. Now that I think about it, I think the only time I eat French toast is when it snows.
As I watched the Weather Channel’s coverage, I enjoyed watching Al Roker thrusting his anemometer in the air and reporting that the wind was now blowing at 43mph. I also got a chuckle when one of the reporters tried to show what could happen when a piece of broken concrete would hit the ground after he dropped it.
He then wanted to us to watch the twig blow past him as a gust of wind took it down the street, striking a car at the corner waiting to make a right turn. His utter hysteria as he pointed at the branch was almost comical.
The best part of the coverage was watching the guys in ‘weather central’ as they brought up map after map and superimposed blue CGI arrows in an attempt to show us where exactly the end of the world was going to happen. They also included statistics on power outages and, unfortunately, deaths that occurred during the storm. There were two things that put me over the edge: the report of an unconfirmed death in Florida and one of the reporters saying that they were ‘disappointed’ because the storm hit New York as a tropical storm instead of a hurricane.
I want to personally thank the media and the Weather Channel for overdose of coverage and the hysteria they caused. They were so far off the mark that they were grasping at straws to try and justify their original forecasts.
Next time (if there is a next time), just give us enough information to be prepared. Don’t give us the impression that there will be four guys on horses riding around the streets.