Gustav Coverage

Wednesday, September 3rd 2008, 8:44 pm
By: News 9


Having some time off during the approach and landfall of Gustav, I was able to view a great deal of weather coverage on a local and national basis.  Some coverage was good with little hype while much of the coverage was laced with incorrect, misleading statements in a self-generating near panic environment. 

The cable folks (I can't watch the weather channel) with meteorology degrees were for the most part quite good, imparting factual and helpful information.  The non-professional (no meteorology degree) weather broadcasters were at times way off base in their comments with respect to the storm itself and what it might do.

But for me, the absolute worst emerged when a few national news anchors made comments about the meteorology of the situation and then made such statements as, "It could be the storm of the century, worse than Katrina."   Wolf Blitzer said something similar to that and I thought, this guy is out to lunch.  In some parts of the world if you uttered such a panicked, blatantly incorrect statement you might easily find yourself in a dark, dank prison cell or worse.

As the storm rolled across the Louisiana coast, hordes of live reports were broadcast, some by meteorologists, some by news people and some by non professional weather people.  One of the best news guys out there was Rusty Surette from News 9 in Oklahoma.  The big boys around the country could take a lesson or two from Rusty.  Some of the worst I saw were non meteorologist storm chasers trying to panic people like some do during tornado weather in the plains. 

Even in Oklahoma City, one non-meteorologist weather person came on his television show in a near panic mode announcing that 10 to 20 inches of rain would fall in the eastern half of Oklahoma.  "Major flooding will occur from I-35 east" was his dire warning.  I turned to my wife and said the inmates are in control!

Gary England