Sea — December 2004
By Capt. Bill Pike
|Part 2: The menacing music wore on as the young woman intro’d yet another video segment.|
“You need good, solid, specific information, and you get…Weather Bunnies?” I ranted as yet another perky, attractive blonde in a red blazer materialized on the screen. Her voice lilted above a crosscurrent of ominous, menacing music which, truth to tell, was more in keeping with the situation at Mullet Mansion than the cool jazz that had augmented the “36-Hour Forecast.”
The menacing music wore on as the young woman intro’d yet another video segment, this time of a slicker suit-clad guy who was standing in a phenomenally windy location, yelling indecipherable verbiage into a microphone while trying to remain heroically upright, with aluminum roofing whizzing by in the palm-whipped background. B.J. looked at her watch, wearily shook her head, and then suggested I switch to one of our two local TV stations.
Coverage there was equally uninformative. In fact, normal late-night programming prevailed on both channels until 4 a.m. when the more public-spirited of the two put its weatherman on briefly. He assured his viewing audience that all was well—the rains and winds had abated. B.J. and I looked quizzically at each other as a great, shuddering thump emanated from the boathouse. Since the weatherman’s statement did not at all jibe with what was happening outside our home, it engendered indignant bewilderment, then a desperate proposal.
“Call Walt Hack,” B.J. suggested, alluding to the famous, New Jersey-based guy who’s been weather-routing yachts around the globe for years. I thought over the proposal seriously for a moment, believe it or not, and then replied, “Yeah, but it’s too small a job for Walt and too late.”
The storm finally began to diminish at daylight, and as luck would have it, my forays outside revealed that neither Mullet Mansion nor the Scrumpy Vixen had suffered any major-league damage during the night. We’d been incredibly fortunate. We’d lost a few planks from the dock and some shingles, and the Scrump had developed a few brand-new stress cracks along her gunwales, but that was about it.
Nevertheless, a bitter aftertaste remains. Not that I’m angry at Mother Nature—realistically, her ways are beyond reproach. However, I am just a tad cheesed-off at the modern marvel of TV in general and its coverage of serious weather events in particular.
Let’s face it: Today’s corporate-controlled TV news programming could be excellent and eminently useful, even lifesaving, but it’s typically not. What real information TV does not sensationalize it usually reports with banality and inaccuracy or fails to report at all.
Is this a dangerous state of affairs? For homeowners and boat owners who are desperate for accurate, timely weather information but can’t get it, heck yes!
B.J. and I know from experience. There’s simply nothing quite so unnerving—and perhaps quite so threatening—as not knowing what you really need to know when you really need to know it.
Previous page > Part 1: What’s wrong with storm coverage on TV these days. > Page 1, 2
This article originally appeared in the November 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.