Mother Nature’s been acting up lately. First with Hurricane Sandy, then Winter Storm Athena, and now – as if simply to prove that named winter storms are not a fluke – Winter Storm Brutus bears down on the Midwest. All within the span of a few weeks! Al Gore and friends might solemnly blame climate change for the unexpected rage these storms contain, but I think we should look to a different, far more insidious culprit: The Weather Channel.
I check weather.com upwards of once every 28 seconds to stay up-to-date on the local weather. Scan the temperature, scroll down to the radar. It’s like a nervous tic. If I’m not absolutely aware of the current weather conditions, there’s a strong chance that a tornado will rip out of the calm, November sky and tear me away to the land of Oz, where I almost certainly won’t have a pair of ruby-red slippers to click when I want to come home. So I indulge my obsession faithfully – and thus, have come to know weather.com pretty well. In particular, I’ve become all too familiar with that red bar across the top of the screen, ceaselessly forecasting my oncoming weather-related death.
That red bar of doom did not always exist. It’s a recent addition to the site. In fact, I would venture to guess that it didn’t exist before Hurricane Sandy. No, I think The Weather Channel added that strip of red terror simply as a way to encourage views. If the casual observer, checking the forecast for Asshole, Nevada, sees that the “BIGGEST STORM SINCE THE BIG BANG” is impending, well, he’s probably gonna click that link. But – and here’s where the conspiracy falls into place – how often is The Weather Channel going to find a storm worthy of such headlines? I think they’ve finally discovered that the best way to forecast the weather…is to make the weather.
Cue rumble of thunder, flash of lightning.
From their secret lair beneath Atlanta, The Weather Channel overlords have been secretly seeding the skies over America, calling forth storms of immense power and terrible destructive capabilities – all so they can draw the readers attention with headlines such as, “THE WAILS OF THE DAMNED PIERCE THE AIR ALL ALONG THE EASTERN SEABOARD TONIGHT,” or ” ‘GETTING PRETTY WINDY’ LOCAL REPORTER STATES BEFORE EXPLODING INTO A FINE MIST OF BLOOD,” or “ANOTHER POWERLESS NIGHT FOR MILLIONS AS THE UNDEAD BEGIN TO FORAGE.” Why simply offer the casual viewer such as myself the dull, uninteresting local forecast when they can fill me with terror over the fact that West Virginia has been cut off by a mile-high snow barrier soaked in blood? The more I fear the weather, the more likely I’ll be to check weather.com. And the more I check weather.com…the worse the weather will become.
I see now what I’ve done. What we’ve all done. We’ve unleashed a terrible monster, a corporate entity so bloated with advertising dollars that they’ve bought powers that only the gods should hold. They’ve taken control of our rain, our wind, our precious humidity. Our desire to find out if it’s still 41 degrees and sunny in Madison every 28 seconds has ruined us!
But it’s not too late. Fear not, readers, for there is a solution: Simply visit another website. Any one will do, really. This one, for example. Or maybe, just maybe, look outside when you’re curious about the local weather.
(As an addendum, I realize that these various storms have resulted in untold tragedies and have left many people in perilous positions during a season typically unkind to those without basic amenities. This post is not meant to mock the importance of these weather events, but rather to draw attention to weather.com’s hyperbolic coverage of the storms.)