Turn on the local news and you will hear terms like closures, drug deals, crashes, murders, and deepening crises. But in the midst of this doomsday broadcast you can cling to a lifeline of hope: there are six and a half minutes allotted to the weather forecast.
If the world really was going to hell in a hand basket, could they allow that kind of time for something so mundane?
I have a lot of respect for meteorologists who have studied in order to understand the difference between a storm outlook, watch, warning, and advisory. Besides explaining subtle weather terminology how exactly do they fill these riveting six and a half minutes?
- Reviewing the weather that already happened: Since we lived through it, this breaking news must be for mindless people or those who work nights.
- Teaching moment: Surface pressures, colliding fronts, and air movement patterns are painstakingly explained. This is when I lose my battle to pay attention and start reading Facebook updates.
- Commercial break: I snap to attention, knowing the promise of prediction is right around the corner.
- Range of Possibilities: I am hoping for a straight answer but get percentages and ‘what if’ scenarios. “If this northeast front moves in we could have 18 inches of snow. If it shifts eastward then we will have a dusting and heavy snows dumped on Canada.”
- Five-Day Forecast: For a split second I see each day’s probable weather and temperature. Hopefully I’ve torn my eyes away from my iPhone long enough to catch this long-awaited punch line.
- Wind Chill: For some reason this segment is only included during winter months to show us how our temperatures dip below zero factoring in the wind velocity. Frankly I’d like to see this highlighted on a 90 degree summer day, so we would know how much a southwest breeze is cooling things off.
I’m feeling pretty good about today. It’s cold but a ‘dry cold,’ and according to the morning weather forecast because of the height of the sun this time of year it’s not ‘bitterly cold.’ This news along with a fresh new car battery and God’s grace, gives me the confidence to separate myself from my down comforter and face another day.
But another boost to my optimistic outlook is the reality that weather still holds its prominent position in the news line up, keeping bad news in its place.
How do you find hope when catching up on the news?