Television’s Quandary

I have spent a good part of this late evening playing poker and watching coverage on Hurricane Frances. Frances did come on shore, not far from Stuart, early Sunday morning.

This storm has been poorly forecast for the last few days.

Listen, I make forecast mistakes all the time – I am not claiming perfection by any means. On the other hand, I have seen a number of calls from the Hurricane Center which seemed to discard what was actually happening at the time. I have thrown up my hands in wonderment.

It’s really tough to take when there is a large staff of meteorologists consulting on each forecast, as there is at the Hurricane Center.

There is nothing else I want to see on television. Yet even with wall-to-wall coverage on cable news, and the ability to watch Channel 10 from Miami on our HD channel, there is too much filler and too little meat.

If anyone does get props, it would have to be CNN. They have done the best job from what I’ve seen. And, as much as I dislike the idea of reporters in the middle of weather that no one should be in, John Zarella has been excellent, as has their meteorologist, Rob Marciano.

The problem, of course, is at most times it’s impossible to get reports from the areas where the weather is the worst. You can’t transmit to satellites when the rain is heavy. You also can’t put the dish up to transmit when the wind is strong enough to rip it off the truck!

I believe this is more hurricane coverage than has ever been available. With the build-up to Frances, and the pictures from Charley, it was inevitable.

Frances is not the strongest hurricane, but its duration will be what’s remembered. There won’t be the destruction of homes that there was with Charley, but there will be lots of beach erosion and the kind of damage that happens when structures submit – as opposed to being instantaneously destroyed.

I will be curious to see the damage near Lake Okeechobee. It is my guess that structures aren’t quite as substantial, both because of its distance from the coast and the income of its inhabitants. Even with less wind, they will be creamed.

If this is a moderate hurricane, who would ever want to ‘weather out’ a strong one?

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