The madness started Monday.
“WINTER STORM WATCH” glared across the TV screens of Oklahomans who watch local news weather teams give their best in predictions and forecasts every day. Meteorologists casually tied what they expected to be the great blizzard of 2018 into their sign-offs throughout the week.
“Enjoy that sunshine now because we’re in for a turn of events soon. Tune in tomorrow to hear more about ice and snow.”
KFOR-TV’s Emily Sutton reported that one model for the storm suggested Oklahoma City snow totals exceeding eight inches were possible. Home improvement stores prepared for a run on snow shovels and, if things got really bad, snow blowers.
With each day, the proclamations and weather alerts got a little more serious.
“Snow patrol” was the caption of one news alert sent to cellphone app subscribers. “Ice, ice … ready?” was the caption of another.
Meteorologists gave a timeline telling viewers what they could expect.
“We have big changes ahead as a winter storm gets closer,” KWTV News 9’s weather super star David Payne said via a phone alert. “I’ll have the timeline for ice and snow.”
Friday was said to be D-Day, when freezing rain and Arctic gusts would sweep down Oklahoma’s plains, creating hazardous driving conditions and possible starvation throughout the weekend.
Clever TV producers stretched for story ideas and hungry station advertisers took advantage of the cold and fed viewers weather-related stories like how to prevent the flu and how to ensure that you’re stocked up appropriately for bad weather.
Social media users captured photos of local grocery store aisles bare due to consumers worried they would be stuck indoors for two or three days.
On Saturday, cell phone weather apps and, of course, the sun gave Okies the surprise they didn’t see coming: bright skies and highs in the 40s for the weekend.
It’s hard to be too hard on our beloved, sometimes seemingly delusional local meteorologists.
Perhaps their overly cautious nature is due to covering storms in a state where the weather can be as unpredictable and potentially hazardous as the tweets of our nation’s commander-in-chief.
You guys dropped the ball this time, but we here at Chicken-Fried News, an organization that does not employ a full-time meteorologist but follows Gary England on Twitter, want to give you credit for getting our forecasts right at least 70 percent of the time on all other occasions.
Go easy on yourselves, take a break from the hard and demanding pressures of meteorology, go outside, get some fresh air, engage in a friendly snowball fight … oh wait.