Weather Props

She stood under a grove of trees pointing at them, as the snow fell and the wind whipped around. She was last night’s on-the-scene weather reporter, warning us that those very trees, the ones she was standing under, could very well fall during the current storm. So I’m thinking to myself, how ironic if they were to fall on her… but of course, they didn’t. They were just her props for the night’s telecast.

But she wasn’t stopping there. This was, after all, a storm that threatened to dump a whopping two to six inches of, apparently, some of the heaviest snow ever experienced by mankind, on our very heads. From DC to Maine – as if nuisance storms like that get us excited in New England. This was a four-inch deep blizzard that shut down Washington DC today like no government furlough could ever do.

On this newscast night when the news was rather slow, ABC News spent more time on a mediocre storm than they did on the death of Hugo Chavez and the Pope’s new digs combined, and almost as much time as Diane spent lamenting the cancellation of White House tours – apparently the most devastating fallout from the government furlough.

None of that deterred our wily news reporter, however, as she next ventured out into a field, same snow falling, same wind blowing, and began telling us how heavy the snow was, picking up a handful of it as her next weather prop, for us to see close up. She must have sensed us rolling our eyes at home, because she then showed us a bathroom scale that she had already cleared a spot for in the snow. She waved a hand over it, like Vanna White as she turns a vowel on Wheel of Fortune, and professed that she would tell us just how heavy that snow really was.

So miraculously, from somewhere off-camera, a huge coal shovel appeared, which she took and plunged vigorously into that two inches of snow. She then stepped on the scale, snow falling, wind howling, and exclaimed that this shovelful of snow weighed in at ten lbs., coincidentally, “as much as a gallon of milk,” dontchaknow. I was waiting for her to produce the milk too, but she thankfully left us with the words only…

Of course being skeptical of these weather props and her journalistic integrity, I ran upstairs to weigh a gallon of our own milk. Sure enough, it weighed nine lbs. – one lb. short of her estimate. Must be because ours was 1% and she used whole milk…

So the question of the day – or maybe the current minute – has to be this: are we just too damned stupid that we need props to tell us what the weather is like? During Hurricane Sandy, we saw news reporters in their waders standing out in puddles with rulers, measuring the height of the water against their boots. We saw others floating down a street of water in rowboats, only to see that the “raging waters” were only about two inches deep when they hopped out – proving that there is no need to venture into the really dangerous areas with those weather props.

During our last two-foot snowstorm – something I’d at least expect to see on the evening news – we saw reporters clinging to signposts next to the ocean in 60-mile-per-hour winds…to what end? It was dangerously windy, we all got that. Yet some dumbdumb decided he needs to hang on to a whipping stop sign and yell into a microphone that we can’t hear above the wind anyhow. Yup, it was snowy AND windy that night. We got it. The fanatics who chase tornadoes know when to back off from weather…but not some of these ace reporters

I guess weather reporting has just gone a bit over the crazy side of the hill – or maybe I’m just reading too much into this stuff. But mark my words, one day we’ll see a reporter on the evening news dangling over the Grand Canyon – only to discover that she used a stuntwoman to complete the shot. The ultimate prop. No snow for you, baby.

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