We all know that phrase which says that sometimes “There are too many Chiefs and not enough Indians," don’t we? Well, here is one of those situations that needs a little work so viewers can get the information they need, because too many Chiefs can put a weathercast viewer on the warpath.
Unfortunately, things can get very difficult when we have to watch those weather forecasts which seem to be going overboard, galloping along as fast as they can, trying to supply too much information in too little time.
We can easily find examples every day. Watching them in action, we immediately find that almost every local weather person seems to have the title of Chief Meteorologist!
Shucks, there’s not an Indian in sight! Everybody’s a Chief – and it doesn’t matter which one you watch or what time of day; when it’s time for the weather report, we are blessed with yet another Chief Meteorologist!
Try any local weather program, and there’s a Chief Meteorologist, and next time there’s another, and next time there’s a third – another Chief Meteorologist for each program!
If it’s a different program at different time of day, there’s different Chief Meteorologist, part of a never-ending rotation.
Chiefs are running rampant!
Is anybody in charge here – or is everybody in charge?
And if you stick your head in the door and yell “Hey! Chief!” how many people will answer?
Maybe they should elect someone Super Chief – if the railroad doesn’t object.
And just look at all that stuff! A virtual storm of information! Weathercasts in such minute detail that you almost expect to learn that the weather is different from house to house!
You can’t blame them for trying to cover a large area in a small amount of time, but that simply makes them hurry, and they do. Hurry, hurry, hurry to get it all in, delivered at such breakneck speed we’re overloaded, unable to understand half of what they’re saying, and so we end up not really knowing what they think they told us, except that something’s going to happen here, something else over there, but you’re still not quite sure, and have to sort things out for yourself!
And all I wanted to know was whether or not I can go shopping, and if I should take my umbrella!
Is it any wonder that we lose interest and get bored – or confused - halfway through?
After all, we can read all this in the local newspaper – at our own speed.
To make things worse, often they’re reporting about some area that’s “way out yonder,"? with severe weather advisories for "Gizmoville," a town so small that only the folks who live there can locate it on the map, occasionally siting it as being "eight miles Northwest of ‘Yahatown’" – another town we didn’t know existed!
(Sidebar: Betcha the Meteorologist never heard of it before today, either!)
And then there’s the information about an area which they don’t show or locate – even while they’re showing a depiction of the entire state behind the reporter.
My, my! Just look at that! You went to all that trouble telling us about it, and we still don’t know where it is.
It’s one of those “You can’t get there from here.” situations because you simply don’t know where it is in the first place!
You had to be born there.
But we’re stuck with it because keeping informed about the weather can be crucial – as long as it’s not overdone.
Simply put, the Meteorologists are trying to give too many forecasts for too many areas, and painting themselves into corners where there isn’t enough time to do more than rush through their million dollar Double Doppler Radar information because there’s so much area to cover in so much detail.
They have to race on to the next one, continually talking, talking, talking; talking so fast you can almost understand – almost.
Have they forgotten the KISS Rule?
Why not consolidate some of these areas and handle them as units; make fifteen areas into five, and give each one the attention it deserves? And keep it simple.
Well, think it over.
Meanwhile, I’m going to stick my head out the door and see if it’s raining.
It’s easier on my nerves, it’s quicker, and it’s a hundred percent accurate.
— Newton columnist Mike Morton writes weekly for the Kansan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org