Severe weather overstatement

February 8, 2007

"SNOWSTORMS ARE CAUSING TRAVEL CHAOS FOR BRITAIN" was the stern warning from the BBC newsreader this morning when I woke up. The local news said the same things; "Severe weather warnings have been issued. Don't travel unless absolutely necessary".

Looking out of the window revealed a light dusting of snow on the vehicles and falling snow, so I trudged outside to make a better assesment. The car isn't drivable at the moment, so I'd be on the bike if I was going to the office. 550bhp/tonne transmited into a layer of snow through a single 165mm wide tyre with a fairly amateur rider could be a receipe for a day in hospital, rather than a day at work.

There was a little icey sludge on the ground by the house (away from the salted roads), a little bit of flakey precipitation falling from the sky. There was plenty of traffic moving freely on the main roads visible from the house. I decided to risk it.

After escaping the mildly slippery driveway, I had an unthrilling ride to work with no sliding at all. No roads were blocked. No cars were stranded. Nobody was digging themselves out of deep snowbanks with the shovels the news stories begged us all to carry.

There was no chaos. There was no severity. It wasn't even all that cold.


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  1. Ciz says:
    February 8, 2007 @ 22:19 — Reply

    If Newsreaders Told the Truth:

    * Portentous and self-important music *

    [Grave, sincere frown]

    Good morning.

    Brrrr. It's a bit nippy out, don't you think? Most of our journalists couldn't be bothered to scrape the car, they're currently at home snuggled in a warm duvet. We've had to contrive a non-story about the chilly weather. On a slow day, if it's not drizzle, it's news.

    Maybe we'll catch your attention if we scatter some scary adjectives like 'severe' and 'hazardous'. It could easily pass for real journalism.

    In Norway, the weather's like this all the time, but they don't mistake it for news. They just wear silly hats and get on with things.

    We'll be back at 1pm, where a weather psychologist, a pouting weathergirl, and a man plugging a climate-change book, will have an intellectually barren discussion, cleverly disguised as expert debate.

  2. CMU says:
    February 9, 2007 @ 04:25 — Reply

    Couldn't have put it better myself.

  3. Ciz says:
    February 12, 2007 @ 20:41 — Reply

    Now this is blizzard

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