News coverage of weather events

As I’m sitting her watching the ‘Storm Team’ coverage of the latest northeast United States snow storm, I am curious what coverage of normal weather events (i.e. not tornadoes or hurricanes or major floods) is like in other parts of the country or, especially, in other countries.

It seems kind of silly to watch shot after shot of reporters standing next to snow-covered roads repeatedly answering questions like: “At this point does it seem as if the ramps are more slick than the other parts of the roadway?”

I’m not sure what you’re asking, but I think the answer is: Yes, the same way that they report snow in New York, they also report earthquakes in California and floods in Mississippi and hurricanes in Florida.

No, the question is, does a few inches of snow warrant taking up 80% of the news coverage for a local news show?

Is this just typical of places like Pennsylvania (where I live), where that much snow doesn’t happen every week but certainly isn’t uncommon.

Does local news in other parts of the world focus this much attention on weather at all?

I can tell you from a Pacific Northwest perspective, your current weather is a 30 second blip in passing on the news here. If it’s any more than that it’s because the network media media based in New York is into its Chicken Little the-sky-is-falling we’re-the-center-of-the-universe mentality.

And yes, when weather gets funky here, local news drones on and on and on about the weather.

If you think that it will increase the ratings and the profits, then the answer, unfortunately, is yes. Some people love to grab every minor detail, and I believe that the broadcasters love to feed them whatever the viewers want to see.

Me, I can go to bed, and when I wake up in the morning, I’ll look to see whether the snow is too bad to go to work. Other people will stay up all night praying that the forecast will change from 6 inches of snow to 18 inches - and they want to be watching when that announcement is made.

winter weather in terms of snow/ice have become more of an issue with ever increasing number of vehicles and congested roads. transit times are affected. even in good weather places that never had traffic reports will have some during crowded times.

That’s how they do it in Michigan. Complete with news reporters standing out in the snow, obviously freezing their asses off, while they answer moronic questions from the news anchors back in the nice warm studio.

OTOH, it does make it easy to figure out who the low man/woman on the totem pole is.

One of these days, one of those weather guys is going to doing the obligatory ‘stand-in-the-wind-barely-able-to-stand’ spots and is going to be decapitated by a fast moving piece of debris. Hopefully that will put an end to this moronic practice.

It’s pretty much the norm here in Chicago, too – with snowstorms or extreme cold in the winter, and with severe thunderstorms or flooding in the spring and summer.

If it’s truly a bad storm, I can see it, to an extent (like the foot of snow we got a couple of weeks ago, or the deep freeze that came just after), but a 2-4" snowfall, or temperatures in the single digits, are not out of the norm for Chicago, and really don’t warrant being the only thing talked about for the first 5 minutes of the evening newscast.

It certainly does in Britain. In fact I’m pleasantly surprised by the OP, because the perception in Britain is that it’s only us who make such a fuss about a bit of snow etc whereas other countries (eg America) just get on with it and don’t make a big deal out of it.

Of course, severe weather in this country (or at least the bits of it where many people live) doesn’t tend to be very severe compared to places with a continental climate. Quite often in winter you see reporters who have been dispatched to stand outside in places where snow has been forecast, only to see them doing a piece to camera surrounded by green fields and maybe a bit of drizzle, trying to make things sound bad…

It’s not just the weather - it’s everything they do. Everything is “Breaking News!” no matter how trivial and almost anything the least bit beyond the usual daily mayhem will get extra coverage. The goal is to keep you glued to the TV and watching the commercials.

Flash! Breaking story!!!

And now, a word from our sponsors . . .

What gets me is when there’s a thunderstorm and they feel the need to fill 75% of the screen with maps and the rest is the show you wanted to watch. Yes we know it’s raining. Yes we know it’s a storm.

What kind of news show? They don’t do that stuff in my area during the 30 minute news shows as noon, 6pm or 11pm. The “Live at 5” or whatever lead-in pre-news shows might because they’re basically trying to fill time with stuff that is only semi-newsy. A couple of the local stations have digital cable channels where they try to imitate CNN and report news all day, repeating the same stories every few minutes, and they probably have some weather nonsense on there. Otherwise they have too much to cram into the actual 12/6/11 o’clock news to fool around too much.

** Fubaya **, where do you live? In NYC they’re ALL like that.

Here in central North Carolina, one of the local TV stations started today’s 5:00 PM news contacting their "mobile reporters " – i.e. riding around in cars – to give up-to-the-minute reports. Since it hadn’t even started raining yet, much less turned to snow, this really didn’t seem to be very useful.

You know, I can’t recall ever hearing a weather forecast in Cameroon. I guess it’d be pretty boring in my area- it didn’t rain nine months of the year, and when it did rain, people just didn’t go out. The weather followed pretty predictable patterns, it wasn’t a surprise when it was extreme (though hot season, it would be above 110 for weeks on end), and there wasn’t a lot you could do about it.

Weather coverage in China was basically a standard news segment. There might be an additional story if there was something unusual, but nothing like the all-day coverage here.

The only extreme weather reports we get in the Caribbean are for a hurricane or tropical storm. Those reports will rightly get a more substantial part of the evening news broadcast including recommendations for storm preparation. When the storm actually hits they are not out standing on the beach reporting as the wind speeds increase.

The weather segment of a routine evening news broadcast is very short. Temperatures here vary little and the wind direction and speed is the greatest variation on a day-to-day basis.

Weather coverage on the news is relevant to the day. If it’s normal weather then all you’ll get is a few minutes telling u the weather. If it’s extreme weather (hot, cold, wet, dry, windy etc) then you’ll get warnings dependent upon what the weather is and what ppl can do to be prepared for it.

It depends strongly on what is unusual for the area. Here in the Bay Area the first rain of the season gets excessive coverage. Given our current drought a bit rain is going to get coverage also, and if it ever snows, even a fraction of an inch, it would be wall to wall. On the other hand anything less than a blizzard in the mountains gets no or very little coverage.

In Louisiana any rain short of a hurricane got nothing, while a tiny bit of snow once was a big story.