Sunday, January 20, 2008

Calm down already, Doreen

I know that the only thing more hyped in Washington than the weather is the Redskins. When snow is on the forecast for a Friday, it leads the local news on a Tuesday. It's kind of amazing. But at least be accurate--which Channel 4 News wasn't last Wednesday night. Doreen Gentzler came on the 11 p.m. news that evening and said that a "winter storm warning" was in effect for "our area" tonight. That, of course, is more serious than the winter weather advisory which had been announced earlier that day, and indicates that a big storm with six inches or more of snow could be expected. If I had heard that and hadn't been in the car an hour earlier and heard the forecast on WTOP, I would have been worried that a big storm was coming. The problem, though, was that while a winter storm warning was in effect in the Washington area, it was only in effect for Frederick and Loudoun counties and points west. That means that for the vast majority of the DC area--the city, Montgomery and Prince George's counties, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, etc.--there was still the less serious winter weather advisory in effect. But Doreen Gentzler never explained this, Bob Ryan never clarified it, and many people--OK, the few who know what those weather warnings mean, but still, they're not that complicated--might have gone to bed worrying about a bigger storm than was actually predicted. And that's just what we don't need in Washington--people worrying even more than they need to about a snowstorm.

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