Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Where's My Weather?

When my girls were young and were going to school, I would wake every morning and turn on the radio to a local station.  This was necessary, especially in the winter, in order to know how the girls were going to dress--and, whether it was too cold (in my opinion) to send them out in the -30* wind chills.  Also, the radio was where we would get school cancellation announcements, so we always had one in the kitchen.  I still hadn't gotten a TV for the kitchen, but it wouldn't have mattered if I had one:  the local TV station did not have early morning news, so I wouldn't have been any the wiser as to what the school or weather conditions were.  Then we got The Weather Channel.

My life got infinitely easier when The Weather Channel (TWC) made an appearance on our cable system.  I never had to worry that my kids were not going to be dressed properly for school and I always knew if it was going to be a good day to do any amount of driving.  My life quickly began to revolve around TWC and watching to see forecasts, etc.

Over the years, I have needed to rely on TWC less and less.  My girls graduated and moved away and I didn't have as many outside 'duties' and interests, so the weather conditions weren't as important to my every day life anymore.  As the interwebs got better and better, I have begun looking online more frequently for my weather news--which is all well and good while my computer is actually on.  But, I am one of those people who turns her computer off when she is done with it for the day, so it isn't always convenient to go online to see a forecast.  And then I must rely on TWC once again.  And that is where my problem lies.

WHAT THE F***ING HELL is wrong with The Weather Channel these days?  At one time they began a feature called Local On The 8s, which meant that the local weather conditions, radar, and forecast would be broadcast every ten minutes.  It was convenient and I never needed to wait more than ten minutes to know what was going on outside.  Okay, most people would just look outside to see what the weather conditions are, but where we live, looking outside is NOT representative of what is going on two blocks from our house.  So, I really need to see radar and forecasts, especially if I would be away from home for any length of time.  (Local On The 8s still is being broadcast, just not as consistently as it was at first.)  And then TWC decided that 24 hours of weather conditions and forecasts was boring and not necessary.  Before you knew it, we got to watch hour after hour of shows dealing with global warming, past devastating storms, 'what if' stories, and the Gulf crisis.  And in recent months, TWC has even been showing Hollywood movies.  Now, I guess some of the features could be considered interesting, but I really don't appreciate some of the preachiness and political leanings of some of them.  Also, if a channel is going to be named The Weather Channel, shouldn't it be doing what it is supposed to do:  forecast and report the weather news from around the world?  That is what I expect and wish the channel would get back to.  But until then, I watch it less and less every year--pretty soon, I will stop altogether.  And with the next smartphone I get, I probably won't need TWC at all.


Anonymous said...

I've noticed this and it makes me mad, too! More often than not, they'll continue their stories and have the "Local on the 8"s as a crawl on the bottom of the screen, where I have to try to see it between the closed captions. (the TV we have doesn't have a button on the remote to turn the captions on and off like our old TV did.)

I get tired of the same old stories of floods, tornadoes and avalanches and the people who survived them. I was almost driven insane when they had show after show of tornado chasers. Once you've seen one of those programs, you've seen it all-the heavy rain through windshield wipers, perhaps hail cracking the windshield, jiggly video of the cameraman running for cover, etc., etc. All I wanted to know was if we were going to get a thunderstorm or not, and I wanted to throw something through the screen. We have a local channel that gives weather updates, but it's not always understandable, so I usually check the weather via National Weather Service on my computer. I like to watch the radar when a storm is approaching.

meleah rebeccah said...

There was a time when watching The Weather Channel felt credible! It felt respectable and real. The information was basic, but it was factual - and didn't have the smoke and mirrors effect that it seems to now!

"And in recent months, TWC has even been showing Hollywood movies."

Yeah, I noticed that too! Actually, I thought I was on the wrong channel. I was REALLY confused.

I think TWC should ONLY report on the weather 24/7. They have no business showing movies!

cmk said...

janet: The other day I went to look at the current weather and I was confronted with a IsurvivedatornadowhatifthishappenedglobalwarminghereisthecurrentweatheronJupiter story from 2005! I mean,really--how is this relevant to my life today? Maddening.

meleah: The Oldest and I were just talking about this the other day and she, too, thought she was on the wrong channel when a movie popped up! Unbelievable.

I can't emphasize how much we NEED reliable, current weather forecasts/conditions here. Our weather is so influenced by Lake Superior, that things are unique here. In the summer, the temperature 10 miles from my house can be up to 15* hotter. In the winter, it can be completely clear here at the house and a blizzard with zero visibility can be raging five miles from us. Plus, conditions can change RAPIDLY here, so we rely on good weather coverage. I just wish TWC would go back to its roots.

kristi noser said...

I guess now it's The Whatever Channel.

cmk said...

DEFINITELY fits--and they wouldn't have to change the initials!

Janet said...

I thought of this last night when trying to find out if my area was going to get any t-storms at all, and...Dear TWC, I realize that some people think of nothing else, but do we really have to have near-constant stories about the Gulf oil spill instead of actual weather?

Talk about beating a story to death, they seem to be experts on it.

cmk said...

I agree about the oil spill! I mean, I realize it is/was an environmental disaster, but what do they hope to accomplish by dragging the story on for hour after hour, day after day, week after week? Sometimes I think they are making THEMSELVES part of the story--like with the 'weather chasers' who have to report from the middle of a hurricane. I've often said that the first time one of them is killed in the bad weather, legislation will have to be passed to save them from themselves.