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I KNOW I complained about TV weathermen a few months ago, but something that happened the other night made me want to scream.
Remember when the weatherman just gave you the weather? No emotion. No hoopla. No theatrics.
Remember when a rainy day was just a rainy day and an inch of rain was not cause for alarm?
Well, brother, those days are gone. These TV guys get all bug-eyed now over an afternoon of drizzle. And an inch of rain? You'd think that an asteroid was heading our way.
I am beginning to believe that a meteorology school's curriculum consists of 25 percent weather classes and 75 percent drama classes. Every snowflake, every raindrop, every windy day must involve high drama. Sometimes it really borders on the ridiculous.
For the past few months, a couple of these D.C. weathermen have been on this "we're-behind-on-our-average-annual-precipitation" kick.
First of all, "average" precipitation is just that, an average. Just because the June rainfall in our area averages 3.1 inches, that doesn't mean we're going to get exactly 3.1 inches of precipitation every June.
Some years we might get 2.1 inches and some years we might get 4.1 inches, making the average 3.1 inches. No one seems to realize that Mother Nature doesn't turn on the faucet just to please humans.
In fact, if you average out the 10 years between 1997 and 2006, which included three substantial summer droughts, you will find that the annual precipitation over that period is almost exactly in keeping with the 140-year average.
I was talking to a lady on Tuesday who was all concerned about the amount of water in her well, because the TV weatherman she watches keeps harping on the fact that precipitation in parts of the Washington area is five inches below average for the year.
I tried to explain to her that we had ample rains last summer, fall and early winter and that there is plenty of moisture underground. The hot March weather may have dried off the top of the ground a bit, but recent rains--including the one that was occurring at that very moment--had rectified that situation.
That same night, I was watching the 11 o'clock news on WRC-Channel 4 when its chief meteorologist, Doug Kammerer, was talking about the severe flooding in parts of Prince William County.
As much as five inches of rain had fallen from slow-moving thunderstorms that day. Roads were underwater and people were being evacuated from their homes, he stated.
Then, to my disbelief, Kammerer added, "But we still have a five-inch rainfall deficit at Reagan National Airport!"
Who gives a durn about a rainfall deficit at the airport? There's nothing but concrete and asphalt at Reagan National Airport. All the water runs off the runways and down into the adjacent Potomac River.
The airport precipitation doesn't sink into the ground to help wells. And the last time I looked, they don't grow any crops at Reagan National! Who cares what the rainfall deficit is there?
Parts of Prince William, Fairfax and Loudoun counties were underwater. Storms are making creeks rise in Fauquier and Rappahannock counties. Spotsylvania County is being battered with torrents of rain.
Still, Kammerer had to make sure all his viewers knew there was a near drought at Reagan National Airport.
I've got news for all these weathermen. Some areas are going to get dry during the summer months. That's just the way it works. Thunderstorms are a hit-and-miss proposition. Everyone doesn't get them.
The grass on hillside pastures in the Shenandoah Valley will turn brown in late July. That should be no big shock. It happens almost every year.
And only when we finish out the year will we know whether precipitation has met the annual average.
Oh! One more thing. It always gets hot in the summer. Despite the TV weathermen dramatics, let me point out that we have hit 95--even 100--degrees many times in the past and mankind has survived.
Hey, guys! Be a Chuck Bell (also on WRC-TV). Just give us the weather. No dramatics, no doomsday scenarios.
You want to do high drama? Get a job on a soap opera.