Note: During the week of November 25th, the
Monday: a huge winter storm was forecast for
Tuesday: a bigger storm was forecast for Wednesday.
Wednesday morning: As is so typically the
case, we woke up with no icy roadways.
Wednesday afternoon: Some icing did occur.
Wednesday night: Nothing.
Thursday morning: Blue sky appeared.
With this in mind . . .
Based upon local media coverage, the Second Coming
would not be as anticipated as a 1/2 inch of snow.
A local Fox news reporter was in some department
store in North Richland Hills at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. She told
us that she had a basket of "essentials": sweaters, blankets, batteries,
and candles. Hey, we had a forecast for one day of bad weather,
not a week. (And I think I own a blanket).
Channel 8 was hell bent on putting a reporter,
Mary Ann Razzuk, in Decatur. On Tuesday night at 10:00 p.m. she pointed
out a light pole that had a small amount of ice on it. ("The weather
up here is numbing, I can barely feel myself talk.").
CBS 11 went crazy Tuesday night. During it's prime
time broadcast, the station constantly showed us, on a rotating basis,
a small radar of every county in North Texas.
Beginning at 6:30 on Tuesday night, Fox started
a scroll at the bottom of the screen telling us that there was a "Winter
Storm Warning". Nothing more. Nothing less. It ran every five minutes.
On Wednesday morning, when all of the forecasts
hadn't panned out, none of the local weathermen would simply say, "We really
blew it". Instead, they started the hype about what might occur during
the day on Wednesday.
One weatherman pointed at his map Monday night
and said "Look at Denver! They are already down to 11 degrees!" Hey,
idiot, it's 800 miles away and a mile above sea level.
Every time there is a forecast for bad weather
there is a predictable pattern: Two days before - it's going to be bad.
One day before - it's going to be real bad. Twelve hours before: every
weatherman starts the "back down".
Isn't it amazing that every time a huge storm
is forecast the local weathermen place the projected freeze line going
right across the metroplex. It conveniently gives them an out in case no
bad weather transpires.
One poor sap wrecked his vehicle and travel trailer
near Weatherford on Wednesday morning. Every station interviewed him as
he desperately tried to blame the accident on the wind.
Another obligatory bit of news videotape is that
of the sand trucks being loaded up in anticipation of having to go out.
It's great. We get to see sand actually go into the back of a truck.
We saw footage of icicles in Sherman.
We saw the obligatory footage of de-icing of airplanes
at DFW Airport.
We saw Janet St. James of Channel 8 at the airport
showing us the Incoming/Departure screen and proclaiming "It doesn't look
When Wednesday came without much happening in
the morning, area news stations showed us footage of a bit of snow in Wichita
Channel 5 had two weatherman on duty on Tuesday
as they "threw it" back and forth to one another. Does it take two people
to read the forecast from the National Weather Service?
If I were a weatherman, I would always predict
that snowy weather would not take place.
Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m., WFAA's Brad Watson
told us he felt a "slight mist" on his face as he stood near a highway
next to downtown Dallas.
Troy Dungan of Channel 8 couldn't leave the spotlight.
On Wednesday night, he constantly teased his forecast with "there is more
coming" and "tonight may be worse than last night".
On Thursday morning, the Dallas Morning News read:
"Freezing rain predicted for North Texas failed to materialize for Wednesday
commuters, but don't give up on weather forecasters just yet. Ice could
be a factor Thursday morning."
Once again, nothing happened on Wednesday night/Thursday
When the bad weather doesn't pan out, the weather
boys tells us "we dodged a bullet" as if none of us wanted to see the bad
weather. Not me. I support blizzard conditions so long as my TV works.
We learned that mass transit in Dallas drops by
3% on bad weather days.
On every weather bulletin issued by the National
Weather Service, they always add "Caution is advised on area lakes." That's
right. It may be 25 degrees outside, but you kids better think twice about
One funny piece of footage came from Decatur K-Bob's
on Wednesday afternoon when the power kept cutting in and out. "It was
pretty fun," said one customer. "The lights would go out, and you would
begin to feel romantic, and then the things would come right back on again."
Having a reporter in Decatur does allow us to
see some of our neighbors on television. I saw Judge Melton Cude's wife
interviewed as well as court reporter Jeff Goodwyn.
If I'm ever interviewed in that situation, I promise
to be as "country" as possible: "Pappy is frying up a mess of eggs. Ya
want me to run to the house right quick and fetch you some?"
Did you see that the Dallas Cowboys practiced
on Wednesday afternoon in the indoor facility of Southlake Carrol High
School? Don't we have the Robin Hood plan in this state?
On Wednesday night, Channel 8 began to tease it's
10:00 news coverage with this promo: "How the storm could have been worse
and why it wasn't. Tonight at 10:00."
When it's all said and done, it was all about
a day off of work.
I had my own little gut wrenching driving experience.
For those familiar with the old Sand Flats Road about five miles outside
of Chico on 1810, I had the extreme displeasure of not making it up a hill
on Wednesday afternoon and finding myself sliding backwards towards the
west fork of the Trinity River. That would not have occurred had I been
properly warned about the inclimate weather.
Barry Green served as District
Attorney for Wise and Jack Counties from 1993 through 2000. He is now a
partner in the Decatur law firm of Smith
& Green, P.C.
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