Weather Reporting Should Not be a Ratings Grab



Sensationalism. IS that what it truly has become? Such a simple thing a few years ago as people want to know the weather forecast so they can make plans. Now it has become an event. It really isn’t the fact that the storms are more violent or more frequent.

It seems that, much like the rest of the news and media, that weather has become as sensationalized as anything else. And it’s really becoming pretty annoying, and I think could have a detrimental effect on how people perceive the warnings given out by weather outlets.


You’ve heard it. It isn’t the weather report, it is STORM TRACKER NEWS.  Doesn’t matter whether the sun is out or not. Think about this. Go online or the television weather and they are touting a strong storm for Saturday and it is Wednesday. Really is that necessary?


According to the National Weather service, forecasters have reduced the tornado death rate by 95 percent, almost completely reduced plane crashes caused by micro-burst downdrafts and have saved ten of thousands of lives from hurricanes. All thanks to technology. Without the Doppler radar we couldn’t see what was going on inside the thunderstorm. Before the invention of the Doppler radar people only had between five and 10 minutes to prepare for approaching severe weather.

I get that, I really do.

Look back at recent forecasts and now the tornado tracking has appeared to basically eliminate the tornado watches and they use the tornado warning so much more. They are relying on storm chasers that see some rotation and it is report first here at the station. They want to be first.

Of course I think that people need to be warned of bad weather coming…it’s the only reason the death rate from severe storms has dropped so much in the last century. But if you keep making apocalyptic claims for every storm that blows through, people will stop listening after a while. And then we are right back where we started.


Weather reporting should not be a ratings grab.


This blog is the opinion of Tom Knuppel