The Public Eye

printed 09/14/2018

“Auntie Em! Auntie Em! It’s a twister.”

That’s how we all feel when the various media outlets go all-in on their hurricane forecasts, scaring people half to death with their minute-by-minute reports, updates and dire warnings that suggest that we might as well kiss our sorry butts goodbye.

Or, at the very least, follow the example of Queequeg the harpooner in “Moby Dick” and direct the ship’s carpenter to carve us a specially inscribed to-go box for our quickly approaching trip to the great beyond.

“Hurricane Zeke is just 850 miles from making landfall somewhere between Maine and Texas, so how’s that coffin carving coming?”

I know hurricanes are terrible things that are deadly and overwhelmingly destructive, and can have the wallop of 10,000 atomic bombs.

I also know it’s better to be safe than sorry, that we need time to prepare, that forewarned is forearmed, and that people who aren’t alerted to the potential danger might just sit home watching Jeopardy until Hurricane Zeke lands in the front yard and sucks them straight through the keyhole on the front door.

I don’t want that to happen, so I accept that timely forecasts and advisories are vital to our well-being.

But why do these things have to be so overly ominous and made to sound like every last soul on the East Coast has about five minutes remaining before they become airborne?

It used to be just the Weather Channel that put half the country’s population on high alert the minute a tropical wave says “hello” somewhere off the coast of Africa.

“A tropical wave has appeared off the coast of Africa. This could develop into a tropical depression, which, as we all know, could turn into a tropical storm as it travels over warm ocean waters, and then grow into a hurricane, which could become a CATACLYSMIC CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE that could leave millions without power, produce a storm surge of eleventy feet, suck the cracks out of the sidewalk and FLATTEN the East Coast like an IHOP waffle. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! Aaggggggghhhh!”

And then, “Five minutes have passed since our last report, so here’s the latest — (see above) — RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! Aaggggggghhhh!”

The result of this nonsense is that people who aren’t necessarily in harm’s way refuse to accept that they’re not in harm’s way.

“Don’t worry, according to the latest forecast, the odds of anything happening here are 10 percent. There’s plenty of time to do whatever should things change.”

“Says you. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! Aaggggggghhhh!”

Seriously, these reports need to be toned down so people aren’t assuming the aforementioned position for no reason.

“I see that you’re kissing your sorry butt goodbye. Isn’t that a little premature, considering that this hurricane is 850 miles away?”

“I’m just being prepared. I want to make sure I get to do that before I follow my sorry butt through the keyhole on the front door.”

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