Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Killer Heat Wave or Killer Hype?


IRONY ALERT!!

Updated 2 PM, Wednesday. Guess who showed up at my office just now????...a reporter (Glenn Farley) and cameraman from KING-5 TV!!! They wanted to talk about the hot, dry summer and how unusual it was! When they closed my room's shades, turned on their blinding lights, and closed the door...well, I was a little concerned. I am afraid to see what will go on air tonight. Some sort of revenge tactic? Will they turn me into a scarester too? We'll see.



The media was up to its old tricks last night-- this time hyping the upcoming "dangerous" heat wave. All the TV stations do it, but none are better at it than KING-5. They are masters of the art. First the news anchors broach the topic, with tremulous voices asking the question--will a dangerous heat wave hit the region the next day? Then they turn to a smiling, yet serious, Jeff Renner who provides a knowing, sympathetic, nod of agreement. Last night, he had his work cut out for him, but finds the most extreme temperature maxima in the region to provide some reason for concern (last night he had to really stretch, quoting the temperature in Vancouver, WA.,which gets the Willamette Valley heat). And then they always turn to their on-scene scarester-reporter. And KING has the top weather scarester in the country...Jim Forman. I love this guy. I wish they sold tapes of his segments...I could watch it for hours. In the winter he hypes snow and in the summer heat. During the last heat wave he had a giant round thermometer stuck at 105F that he kept on flailing about. If nothing threatening is going on...no problem..he will describe the terrible events that will certainly happen to the unprepared. And he always shows people desperately buying emergency supplies in convenience stores and supermarkets. I mean...this guy has a winning formula.

Anyway, our models are indicating a substantial warm up tomorrow...and the central and south Sound could see a few 90s....particularly away from the water. The probcast forecast system (www.probcast.com), whose strength includes these types of days is predicting 92F for Sea Tac tomorrow. (Check the graphic for max temps tomorrow).

Easterly flow will develop tonight over the region, bringing further warming to the west side (and the over us is already quite warm). As you can see from the surface weather chart (pressure and temps shown), the famous thermal trough will move into western Washington (chart) with the heat....our temperatures will spike tomorrow and then decline a bit Thursday as some marine air moves in Thursday AM and the thermal trough jumps to the east side.

7 AM update...on wed..looks more like 89-90F at Sea Tac today..warmer, but not that warmer than yesterday

28 comments:

andycottle said...

Yes, it can be funny and make you chuckle when the weather gets all "hyped up". But that is media at it`s best....grabbing the viewers and getting them to stay tuned for the latest details.

Jim said...

Cliff - did you ever watch the show "The John Report with Bob?" Check out this segment on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2ip8K0gUlQ - they had a character called Parka Boy... he's a "Ratings machine!" Thank you for keeping it real Cliff!

mainstreeter said...

My favorite story about Danger Jim. There was a accident on Aurora behind the King studios. Foreman went out there with cigar in hand and lit it off of one of the road flares.

Weather stories are fairly inexpensive to cover other than travel time and offer the fear factor. I think they have found a niche.

TrickyCoolJ said...

I think the best thing the local news provides us during weather extremes is good comedy! I never can wait to get home after a snowfall, pop some popcorn and watch the bad drivers bounce off of each other.

Iapetus999 said...

I swear these guys live for weather "disasters". If it snows an inch they declare it the worse disaster to ever befall us. They seed so much panic that one day last year all the schools closed...without a single flake of snow on the ground!
I grew up in New England. It's called a Nor'Ester. That's a bad snow. One year they had to clear our street with a payloader because there was too much snow for plows. That's a weather disaster. One inch?? No.

Must read blogs said...

kiro was saying that the wind will start out easterly then by eveing will switch and westerly winds will bring in a onshore push.
cliff is this what the models are saying?

Chester said...

Cliff - as a 911 dispatcher who has to deal with the local media, I find the same local station is the worst for being a pain in the b*** to deal with. Sometimes I think they are only happy when 14 people died in a fire caused by a meth crazed WWI veteran. --Chet

Liembo said...

I am always amused that the field reporters always have to stand IN the flood waters. But what good is standing ankle deep in the flooding Skykomish doing for ratings? If you want to make an impact, I want to see you SWIMMING in the drink and telling me how bad it is. "Jim Foreman here, clinging to a logjam in the freezing snowmelt of the Stilliguamish..." then maybe the audience could have some perspective. Go to the next level, Jim!

Must read blogs said...

there was an article in seattle magazine about the last flood we had here in chehalis.. the author criticized the local media as being 'seattle centric' in their forcasting and if they had really done their job as forcasters they would have seen the flood coming and warned us ahead of time. I am certain that a majority of residents here in lewis county didn't look at the noaa weather pages or any where else since they believe they are getting accurate forcasting from the seattle stations.

Iapetus999 said...

They don't cover news outside Seattle until it has to do with meth. Sorry.

mainstreeter said...

"there was an article in seattle magazine about the last flood we had here in chehalis.. the author criticized the local media as being 'seattle centric' in their forcasting and if they had really done their job as forcasters they would have seen the flood coming and warned us ahead of time. I am certain that a majority of residents here in lewis county didn't look at the noaa weather pages or any where else since they believe they are getting accurate forcasting from the seattle stations."

Must read,
I heard the watches then warnings both locally and up to a day or 2 ahead on the seattle and portland stations. Olympia too. Your premise is that most people down there don't have access to the web, which may be correct but the local media in Lewis Co does and therefore where were they if one has KELA on or the Chronicle in their mailbox?

Having lived nearby and worked as an ARES/RACES ham volunteering in the 96 floods and watching reaction over the next decade, it seems people wait around until flood stage to 'do something' I know of one store owner in 2007 who waited until the Fairway shopping center was under 2 feet of water to "start action"

In my observation, people wait hoping it is either hype or it will 'just go somewhere else' Blaming Seattle for a situation that is compounded by county commissioners who ignored and got sued over growth management laws and the continued development in the flood plain (look at the new I-5 Toyota location RIGHT in the middle of ground zero of the low spot on that stretch of the freeway) who continue to build in locations that have recorded record flood events. The 2007 floods also had a landslide from clear cutting by Weyerhauser which broke free that couldn't be predicted except by the company itself. landslide synopsis

Lewis County needs to start figuring out how much growth is to be allowed on the flood plain along with people being ready to "start action' after years of events before it blames Seattle media for it's dilemma.

mainstreeter said...

BTW, must read, I think with the advent of NOAA "SAME" SPECIFIC AREA MESSAGE ENCODING" alert receivers, a lot more people in the area have them or can purchase them or if the county wants to apply for grant money, they can issue them along the record flood areas like Adna and other flood prone areas of the county. These are a must in flood country.

Joseph Ratliff said...

Interesting,

The latest Probcast upped the daytime high by 5 degrees from 88 to 93 in the Olympia area (zip 98503) ...is there any new data that came in to support this?

Joseph

Corie said...

Ah yes, "Danger Jim". I remember when he first started out..being the low man on the totem pole, he was routinely sent to Bellingham to brave the frigid winds out of the Fraser Valley. Other times, when there was a chance of snow, he would wear that Furry Hood and stand on the top of Queen Ann and squint up at the sky to be sure and see the FIRST snowflake.
Overall, when there is heat, the news brings us feature stories about people looking for fans, and when it snows, there is always the ubiquitous shots of snow tire work at Les Schwab and the assurance of the city of Seattle that "the trucks are ready!!"

Jody said...

In our family, Jim Foreman is known as "Disaster Boy." If he's reporting, it's a disaster . . .

Don said...

For us old timers, makes you wish for Ray Ramsey again. Just the facts, with a weather lesson or bad pun thrown in once and a while.

mainstreeter said...

Ray from 1978

Raillynn said...

Good Day Mr. Mass, thank you as always for the personable commentary and predictions. I would love to say that I have had several friends over the years work for KING and many staffers refer to Jim Foreman as Ratings Foreman. I am sure most mean it with affection, while a few say it with a jeering smile. Either way, you have to give it to the man for putting it all out there!

Viviana said...

My Dad, RIP, made fun of "Danger" Jim all the time, jokingly commenting that it must be a disaster if it was JF on location. So I read your blog entry to my mother this morning, and it made her day to hear someone else rave about Jim.

Big White Ball said...

This is the funniest thing I've seen in awhile, especially the update!!

Must read blogs said...

mainstreeter:

I have lived here in lewis co off and on for 45 years and perhaps the dumbest planning was putting the hospital across the chehalis river and closing the one on washington. Then there has been TALK of another bridge to get to it, but nothing has happened at all. So we are stuck having to figure out how to get over there or to any hospital ( we were landlocked and not even able to get to longview or olympia). The hospital on washington ave here in chehalis could have been of great benefit stabilizing those who need to airlifted out or just taking care of those who have less urgent needs.

andycottle said...

Poor Cliff, lets not have the media make him look bad and not hyping todays 'heat'. Cliff knows his stuff and dosen`t give hype about weather events, but more in turn gives his readers updates and things to look for in the coming days of a weather event.

smsstuart said...

Cliff-

I think the correct name should be: "scarecaster"

smsstuart said...

Cliff-
I believe the correct name should be: "scarecaster"

Lindsey said...

In general, it just didn't get as warm as was forecast in western WA. Seems like maybe the first time in awhile that the forecast high temps for the warmest day of a warmup ended up being a few degrees higher than what actually occurred. But the Willamette Valley ended up pretty close, and maybe even a bit higher than what was forecast.

Viclly said...

I couldn't agree more about the NW media "heatwave hype". I'm from the east coast and the "heat" here is nothing. I love weather and I love your blog! Keep up task of informing the masses about the weather, from a scientific angle.

Tom said...

Haha!! I really like that you feel the same way about Channel 5. Although Jeff Renner is a pretty cool guy, I really lose respect on "My additional 5 day forecast". How the heck does he go out that far? I don't trust him farther than I can toss Jim Foreman's "Winter Blast" parka.
I give full respect to Scott Sistek of Komotv though. Sense of humor, accurate, and weren't you his mentor?

Newsproducer975 said...

Weather is easy to cover and no one sues the station for getting it wrong. The consultants that the stations hire tell them to hype the weather AND to scare the public whenever they can. Thus the hype. Television stations across the country blame their dwindling number of viewers on everything EXCEPT the terrible job they are doing covering the news.