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Archive for January 18th, 2008

Not just “another weather story”

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Raise your hand if you hate writing weather stories.

I don’t know what it’s like in other regions, but in the Midwest, at least the parts I’ve lived in, it’s hot in the summer, which is about July-September, and it’s cold, well, the rest of the year. I hate the cold as much as the next guy. (I do like wearing sweaters though.) I also hate the summer heat. (Dude, I live on the second floor of an old house lacking a/c.) Sometimes I think, can’t we have a mix of overcast and sunny, high near 72 all year, kthnx.

But, then, I do like variety, which we definitely get. We get spring showers (and floods) and winter blizzards (and freezing rain) and summer days topping 100 degrees on occasion. Because I was raised in this climate, however, it’s normal for me to wake up freezing and go to bed burning up or vice versa. I don’t find it that weird to see snow and t-shirts in the same week. It hasn’t even gotten cold enough for me yet to pull out my wool winter coat.

That makes writing about the weather seem all the worse. It’s like writing about traffic lights changing colors. Everyone knows it’s going to happen, and they can kind of figure out for themselves what comes next.

But it seems like every time you’re set to expect anything more than a dusting or a drizzle, it’s time for a weather story. And when a snow storm hits or the heat bests the average, it’s time to dust off those coping tips and talk to someone about snow shoveling pitfalls or hit up the local pool. Or the photogs favorite: Weather photo galleries and feature art.

Just today, when talking over my assignments for Sunday morning, the frigid weather was mentioned as something to watch. Cue an internal eye roll.

So here’s my next question, this one’s for the readers. How many of you hate reading weather stories?

I don’t think there’s a solution. I mean, weather is the old standby universal experience. When there’s nothing in common to discuss, you can always talk about the weather.

That said, I’ve decided I’m going to temper my eye roll over this necessary evil and instead resolve to take a cue from today’s IndyStar, where I just stumbled upon this entertaining topper to an otherwise routine weather story:

Call the Indiana battle between seasonably cool and downright cold the meteorological version of a legendary George Foreman-Muhammad Ali fight.

The cool air is like Foreman, slugging away until exhausted. The cold air is like Ali, playing the rope-a-dope until it’s time to score the knockout.

This weekend should give the decisive weather boxing victory to the cold. The National Weather Service predicts Saturday night’s lows around 3 degrees below zero, the coldest in Indianapolis since minus-6 on Feb. 16, 2007.

There will be purists who will say it’s showing off and doesn’t help tell the story better or get to the point until the third graph. Yeah I noticed that, too.

Yet, I applaud the writer for taking the time not to roll his eyes and then write “another weather story.”

But I’m still not writing anything more than a “what to expect today” web update about the weekend weather unless it causes some type of havoc. I have some pride.