Wednesday, April 25, 2007

HOW BAD IS IT GOING TO BE??


We’re predicting storms for Thursday, April 26 and it will be only the sixth time this month it’s rained. We desperately need the rain, but we don’t want to see destruction or loss of life due to spring storms. So whenever I mention storms in the forecast, inevitably, someone asks me this question – how bad is it going to be? Inside, I chuckle a little, pause and then ask back, “What do you consider bad?” For some, loud cracks of thunder cause panic attacks and for others, it’s no big deal. Around here, it might be pouring on one side of town and then on the other, hardly a drop. Because we cover 54 counties (!), there might be dark skies in the Georgia mountains and sunshine in Atlanta. However, to us on TV, it’s all the same. Therein lays my difficulty in answering what might seem a simple question.

Will it be so “bad” that you might find your roof missing or a tree in your living room? Will roads flood or will you lose power? When I hear the question, “How bad will it be?” these are some of the visions that come to mind. I also have to consider who is asking the question. Is it my wife who just wants to know if she’ll have a long commute because Atlanta traffic will slow even more in inclement weather? Or is it a photographer who might have to stand in the rain while doing a live shot? Or is it a co-worker’s child, who has a bad memory of a night filled with endless flashes and doesn’t sleep well during thunderstorms?

It’s a hard question to ask because it implies so much. For instance, if it rains while you sleep, you usually don’t care that much because you won’t be maneuvering in it. But if when you wake up you can’t get out of the house because your street is now a river – that’s a different story. Our role in presenting the weather means that I have to use very precise language, but viewers also need to interpret what I’m saying. That makes it challenging whenever severe weather threatens. I really want people to know the threat and to be prepared and it’s gratifying whenever I hear that a viewer did just that and lived to tell about it.

So watch out tomorrow, take your umbrella and keep a close eye on the skies - it could be bad!

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