Not long after weathermen (note that old-school "stewardess"-like gender specificity) became known as meteorologists, newsrooms starting pimping out their gadgetry with green screens, and hiring shiny "talent" instead of local science geeks who hadn't gotten into MIT or Cal Tech. And not long after that, Weather quite simply ate the entire newscast as we knew it.
It used to be that the broadcast Weather took a backseat to Sports, to the News itself even. But no more. Whether a result of climatological nightmares caused by global warming, or recent devastating storms — or just the fact that for most, Sports now lives on ESPN, or online; or that there is no longer perceived to be any real news in the News (despite fighting wars on two fronts, and being on the verge of enacting game-changing healthcare reform).
Nowadays — if we actually sit through the fatty part of the news — we are party to 5–10 minutes of talking-head telestrating with 27 plasma-color maps with circles and arrows and a snow squall's worth of jibba-jabba on each bit. Before, blessedly, they finally succumb and show the simple thing we have, in fact, been looking for all along. The only graphic that really matters: the 5-day forecast, complete with temperatures and easy-to-follow happy-sun/angry-cloud icons.
And really, they could make it a 3-day graphic, and I'd be happy — because I live in New England, and have no earthly reason to believe a weather forecast 4–5 days out.
And jargon? I don't give a goddamn about el niños and la niñas. I don't care about why and how. I want to know how warmly I should dress tomorrow and if it would be prudent to bring home my laptop from work due to impending snow. End of story.
In fact, I'll make a deal with all the meteorologists out there on the teevee: I won't talk to you about my particularly technical niche of professional expertise, and you don't tell me about the leading edge of a cold front mixing with warmer air coming up from the Carolinas due to the tropical depression in the Caribbean or whatever the hell it is with which you all so constantly regale us.
Ah. But as noted, there is (expensive) gadgetry and technology in broadcast Weather — far more than, say, Sports — and producers like to show off their budgetary darlings. So, like a Hollywood summer blockbuster shooting their stunt-gag wad with histrionics not essential to the plot, our newscasts now teem with meteorological pyrotechnics in the same vein (or should I say "vain" — because, just as any film director with say over the final cut of their films, the end result is most certainly less about the audience than it is about simple vanity).
Here's what I want. I want weather tweets. A strict 140-character limit broken by neither sun nor rain nor sleet nor snow. Ditto the beloved "major weather events" — be they tropical storms, water spouts, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, blizzard of '78s, or Halloween Gales.
Bam! Done, and done. And with time left to actually grab the emergency kit and run downstairs to the cellar.