The Weather Channel did a fantastic job overhyping and generally freaking out about Tropical Storm Alberto, including switching their website and TV coverage to “Storm Alert Mode,” previously reserved for category three or higher hurricanes. They’re doing the same about Tropical Storm Beryl, sending veteran storm tracker Jim Cantore to hell and back (or, from Nags Head, NC to Chatham, MA) to cover a 60 MPH tropical storm. Cantore even admitted tonight on Evening Edition that it wasn’t going to be a major problem, aside from more rain on a soaked Northeast and some additional wave action along the coast. Beryl is not even expected to make landfall or even have tropical characteristics by the time it reaches up there. However, as a precautionary measure, the National Hurricane Center has posted tropical storm watches along the Northeast coast…hence, the producers of the Weather Channel sending it into “hurricane mode.”
Another thing — wouldn’t it be a given that a channel called The WEATHER Channel would be a good source of information on hurricanes? Why do they have to keep reinforcing before every local forecast that they’re “The Hurricane Authority?” Are they really that scared of CNN’s “Hurricane Headquarters?”
The Weather Channel built its reputation on solid, sensation-free weather reporting, forecasts, and information for 20 years. It seems in the last few years they’ve decided to pretty much abandon that model to pander to “panic mode” every time someone twirls a tornado tube. As a long-time fan of TWC (read: literally since birth, ask my friends), I’m very, very disappointed, especially this year.