Annoyed with Sensationalized Weather Reporting

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by samiwas, May 26, 2011.

  1. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    It seems that, much like the rest of the news and media, that weather has become as sensationalized as anything else. And it's really becoming pretty annoying, and I think could have a detrimental effect on how people perceive the warnings given out by weather outlets.

    No longer do you have the weather report, you have LIVE CHANNEL 3 HD STORM TRACK....even on a sunny day.

    The recent stories about flooding in Memphis were so overblown, it's unbelievable. I am from Memphis originally, and I had several people asking me if everyone was okay, how are they getting by, etc. The water barely covered a small section of one river-side street. I think a couple of houses on Mud Island had some flooding. But if you looked at the news reports coming out, with the news teams in their waders, you would think the city was a modern-day Atlantis...buried forever under feet of water.

    But what really gets me is the tornado reporting. Tornado tracking has become MUCH better in recent years and is really making it much easier to warn of upcoming events. But it seems that there are no longer tornado watches, which serve to alert people to the possibility. It seems now that there are only tornado warnings, which used to mean that a tornado was actually spotted and that you needed to immediately take cover.

    I was watching the news the other night and they must have reported 30 different times "Folks! There is a tornado ON THE GROUND right here!!" How did they know this? Their radar showed some rotation that could possibly indicate a tornado. The results? There were no actual tornados, damage, or injuries that night, even though you would have thought the city was being destroyed. Last night, I read an article about a tornado in midtown Memphis yesterday. Since my family lives in midtown Memphis, I obviously quickly looked into it. No damage, and no was there a tornado or not?

    Of course I think that people need to be warned of bad weather's the only reason the death rate from severe storms has dropped so much in the last century. But if you keep making apocalyptic claims for every storm that blows through, people will stop listening after a while. And then we are right back where we started.

    Weather reporting should not be a ratings grab.
  2. InsanelyApple macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2010
  3. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    This is nothing new. Local news i all about scaring the **** out of you. That's why they report on crimes instead of local issues. THey've been doing that with the weather for years. Be lucky you don't live where it snows regularly.
  4. senseless macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
  5. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    Just get your weather reports straight from the National Weather Service.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The issue is that network news is fighting to stay relevant. I mean by the time they report the news, sports and weather its already old news, thanks to the intarweb. So the option they chose is to sensationalize it in the name of ratings.
  7. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Weather Report

    Three local members in one thread page...:cool:

    The local stations do this Storm Tracker and Severe Weather Alert thing, but if you count rain as a storm then it's been storming for months out here.

    BTW: I don't think the National news is overdoing it with the flooding and tornadoes we have been experiencing East of the Rockies.


    Attached Files:

  8. JoeG4 macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    Meh, you don't know how useless TV weather is until you live on the west coast - the Weather Channel's idea of weather in the west coast is to spend about 5 seconds telling what the high is going to be in SF and Seattle and then they quickly jump back to humping the midwest and bible belt.

    Although I'll agree about the reporting - I remember the tsunami warnings we had about a month or two ago after the Tokyo earthquake. The truth was, in order to mess up the Bay Area to the degree they were saying it might hit, it would have totally wiped out SF. The entire ****** peninsula.

    Then again, our emergency alert system out here is crap. There are a couple of sirens at the refineries in neighboring towns but absolutely nothing out here as far as severe weather. Meh.
  9. InsanelyApple macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2010
    Actually the location is your actual location on both. To me it appears as my town in Oklahoma. Cool, huh?
  10. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Agreed. I hated the reporting during hurricane season when I lived in Florida.
  11. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Any time I have watched American TV it has always amazed me just how bad the graphics are on the weather broadcasts.

    Here is an example of what the BBC produces for the UK:

    (No sensationalism here, I don't think!)
  12. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
  13. grimstock macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2011
    gave up local news for the National Weather Service and Weather Underground websites. Wundermap is excellent, especially on the iPad
  14. ender land macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2010

    Yeah, I look at the online sites too.
  15. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    Just 'discovered' UW this week.


    Tracked a rain front to within 1/2 km of me. Even saw nearby streets.
  16. ender land macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2010
    wunderground is great. Makes it really easy to get a fairly decent view of the weather without commentary :p
  17. samiwas thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    Wundermap on Wunderground's website is awesome. The iPhone version is meh, but the iPad version is pretty decent (I can't get it to stop showing the temperature thingies though, even when I press "radar", it goes back to the weather stations). I need to play with it more.

    But in response to some of the comments above, I wasn't really referring to the weather outlook so much, like reading Bing's or Google's weather page. I was talking about the reports of "deadly severe weather!" for every little storm that comes along or examples that I posed such as the floods in Memphis which were minimal, but reported as the end of the city, the tsunamis JoeG4 brought up, snowpocalypse and snowmageddon, etc.

    The reporting on the tornados in Alabama and Missouri, amongst others, was most definitely NOT overblown, as those cities were really messed up and deserved some attention. It's when they take a small nothing and present it as the end
  18. fungus macrumors regular


    Sep 30, 2008
    While I empathize with the OP, this really is nothing new. Sensationalism advances along with technology. I don't know what it's like in other metro areas, but here the local news will interrupt regular programming for severe weather and not return to it until everything has passed through the area.

    As far as tornado watches/warnings, there are almost ALWAYS watches before warnings. Regarding tornadoes "on the ground" that aren't really there, the NWS will issue tornado warnings based either on eyewitness reports, i.e.; law enforcement or storm chasers, or on rotation within the storm that is indicated by Doppler radar. Our local TV weather reporters always differentiate between the two, and 9 times out of 10 the warnings are based on Doppler. So to answer that point: no, a tornado warning doesn't automatically mean there is an actual tornado on the ground.

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