My buddy Jason at Happy Scrappy mentioned some of the more annoying aspects of local news weather coverage, but he's from Florida and doesn't understand that these things, which he complains about, are as woven into the fabric of New England as the Puritans, Red Sox, and bussing violence.
So for all you people not from around here, I give you the 10 immutable laws of local news storm coverage:
- Send out reporters to at least two of the following four coastal areas: Revere/Winthrop, Hull, Scituate or Gloucester. At at least one location a wave will clear the sea wall. Run clip 743 times.
- Send a reporter to somewhere along Route 128. During the blizzard of '78, motorists died as they became stuck on the clogged road and snow covered their vehicles' exhaust pipes. That will never happen again, but there needs to be a reporter on the scene for the possibility of a corpse interview.
- If the station has a bigger budget, send someone to Worcester City Hall, which serves as a reminder that there is some form of civilization in Baja Vermont after all.
- Doppler radar: This is a new entry to the weather coverage. It's no longer good enough to get radar information from the National Weather Service. Each station must have its own doppler radar tower that will provide "up to the minute" coverage of a 36 hour Snow Event.
- Call the storm a Snow Event. This is mandatory.
- Keep at least two weathermen (ahem, meteorologists) inside the station at all times. It makes the team look rugged, like one is on the air while the other is catching 10 minutes of sleep on a cot set up in a broom closet somewhere. Like firefighters or Jerry Lewis during the telethon.
- The anchors get to wear sweaters, like they just came in unexpectedly, and were't aware they were working the weekend shift like four days ago. No blazer or otherwise professional clothing. If I can't believe that Ed Harding was at home splitting firewood when he was called for the extended coverage, then clearly NewsCenter Five doesn't care about the Snow Event.
- Nothing is a bigger story than the Snow Event, even when the Vice President shoots a man.
- The following events, if captured on film, must be shown at least 743 times: A man falls, a car fishtails, water clears the sea wall (see rule #1), close-up of plows clearing the highway, kids with shovels trying to make some extra cash, a reporter losing their hat or hood in the wind. There are others, but these are your meat and potatoes.
- At least one meteorologist must wonder out load "Will we get to official blizzard status?" and then remind us of the rules of a blizzard as defined by blah blah blah.