I’m an admitted Accuweather junkie. In college, I took weather and climate classes to squeak in that science requirement I needed to graduate, and loved them. I just find the whole forecasting thing fascinating.
That means I’ve been reading their comments, as well as those on other weather sites, in the aftermath of Irene. A lot of folks are saying that Accuweather, other major weather sites and stations, and even their local forecasters “hyped” Irene too much.
Here are a few of the reasons I don’t think so at all:
All that damage is in one yard – my mom and dad’s. I live just a few minutes away from them, and had nothing more than a few downed branches in my yard.
If, like me, you are one of the people who got through it relatively unscathed, it doesn’t mean the media overhyped things. It means we got frickin’ lucky.
There are still over 100,000 people here in Maryland without power 3 days after the storm. Many are being told things could be “lights out” for them until the weekend.
Even though they have four downed trees and lots of damage, even my family is lucky compared to those who had a tree land on their roof or who are being driven out of their homes by flooding coastlines and rivers. Two women right in my office suffered major flood damage to their homes.
And hey, we’re in Baltimore. We didn’t even get hit with the same punch the coastline got.
In spite of all that, my whole state got lucky when you look at what people are still dealing with in New Jersey and Vermont. There are people there being air-lifted food because they can’t get out for provisions.
Doesn’t sound overhyped to me at all.
I wonder what the people who say that would consider a serious deal. Does it have to be a Katrina to warrant extensive media warnings and coverage?
Personally, I’d like to congratulate the media on a job well done. I am someone who chose not to go into journalism because I hated the whole ambulance chasing, story-creating culture. But in this case, I think they were spot-on.
If some of the worst case scenarios that were presented didn’t happen, that’s because we were fortunate. They COULD have happened, and I’d rather know that than be blindsided by them.
If the media coverage kept a few potential daredevils from braving shorelines or keeping potentially distastrous outdoor plans during the storm, they did their job.
If the media coverage helped a few Northeasters who aren’t as used to hurricanes as those in more southern areas be better mentally and physically prepared, they did their job. For us, it was a big deal. Lives were lost up and down the East Coast. I had to laugh at one guy who said something about how he didn’t get it because he was “used to” dealing with category 4 and 5 hurricanes. OK. We don’t get those enough for anyone to be “used to” them, do we? And even if we did, that’s like a heavyweight boxer telling me I should have no problem kicking a 250-pound buff bully’s ass just because he regularly knocks out 300 pound tough guys.
I hope the criticism doesn’t deter the media from keeping us as informed as possible. I’d rather know of the potential for serious problems and be pleasantly surprised when things aren’t as bad as they could have been than be blindsided by an unexpected wallop in the ass, any day of the week.