Archive for cold weather

Whither the Weather?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 24, 2013 by davegerry
Snowy lion

The lion in winter

There is no older, more clichéd chestnut in the television news pantheon than the weather story. Hot, cold, wet , dry…it doesn’t matter. If you work in television as a reporter for half a century, chances are, a weather story may be the first and possibly, the last of your career.

Television weather stories fall into two basic categories: the predictable and the obvious. When the summer sun is melting the  Juicy Fruit on the sidewalk, you will always see the tale of the poor guys asphalting…or roofing…or working the 450 degree pizza oven. When it is bitterly cold you, quite naturally, get the flip side. There’s someone making a backyard ice rink. Here’s somebody carving an ice sculpture. How’s the guy in the gelato shop doing? We watch the same stories roll by every year. There may be some measure of comfort in knowing that our small corner of the world is unfolding, meteorologically and metaphorically, as it always has and should.

People love to talk about the weather but they only have so much tolerance for how it is delivered on the news. There were several periods in my career when I stood in a studio and pitched the forecast. I was a little too edgy for the powers-that-be, so I was never the ‘weatherman’ for very long. Management told me that I was too unpredictable to do the weather. Apparently, they wanted someone predictable doing the predicting.

A consultant (and there are consultants like bedbugs in television) told me that you should never try to be very entertaining when you deliver the weather. People just want the forecast. Is it going to rain tomorrow? Snow? If you give them nothing more than that…you’ve done your job. Don’t get cute. Don’t get crafty. Just give ’em the goods, smile and make way for the Sports!

It’s very cold where I am right now. But, of course, ‘cold’ is always relative. I like the term ‘crisp’, rather than cold. It’s crisp enough to damn near snap an ear off! Anyway, at every station the weather stories are being trotted out. I see them all.

Just waiting for the brass monkey.

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Run for Your Lives!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 7, 2009 by davegerry

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There is cold Arctic air over Vancouver and the weather warnings are up. It’s zero degrees. If you are reading this from anywhere else in Canada you are undoubtedly laughing your ass off. This is the time of year when Vancouverites look like national marshmallows. People move here to escape the frigid climate elsewhere in the country and within a year or two they become absolutely climatologically intolerant.

A narrow comfort zone

The comfort range for the average Vancouver resident spans about fifteen degrees. Zero (or, God forbid, anything lower) is too cold. Twenty five degrees celsius is pretty much the ceiling. Ideally, we like to live in the 10 to 25 degree bubble.

We are not alone. I was once in the city of New Orleans during an unseasonably frigid spell. Fountains froze, pipes burst and palm trees were being wrapped in blankets. People who lacked cold weather clothing walked around with pillows pushed into their faces for protection.

On the other hand, I remember landing on a flight into Calgary and doing a double take when the pilot announced that the current temperature was minus 26 degrees Celsius. I thought he was joking. Minus 26 degrees is beyond crisp. No one survives minus 26 degrees without a heated car seat.

Vancouverites generally like their cold weather restricted to the mountains. We prefer to look up and see the snow in the distance. It’s a postcard view of creation that seems nice and safe. If we feel the need to play in the snow we’ll go to it. If the snow unexpectedly comes to us (six flakes on a highway will do it) the world, as we know it, dissolves in chaos.

This vulnerability is not an admirable trait. I have not spent much time in Canada’s north but I have been in Newfoundland where, I believe, the hardiest souls in the country exist. Newfoundlanders are made of sterner stuff. Extraordinarily close family ties are made even stronger by an unforgiving climate. Newfoundlanders put their heads down, laugh it off and soldier on. People who live on the south coast of British Columbia surrender as soon as the bird bath freezes and their azaleas droop.