The Language Of Hurricanes

Hurricane season is upon us and the media is all over it. Having lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Sarasota, I try to be particularly aware of the weather from July 1st through November 1st. Each year, as hurricane season approaches, I spend more time watching the Weather Channel and monitoring the low pressure systems in the Atlantic on the National Hurricane Center’s website, in an attempt to predict which might become tropical waves, depressions, storms, or, perish the thought, hurricanes.

Those of us who live in hurricane-prone areas hope and pray that no storms will come our way. I wish I could say the same about the media. For all their blathering about how terrible the destruction is from weather-related events, the truth of the matter is that they are eager for this sort of devastation to occur. I have witnessed this during hurricanes on the Outer Banks. In all the years I lived there, I never left for a hurricane; I hunkered down and weathered each hurricane that came our way. Before the eye of the hurricane arrived, I would drive around and look at the angry, foaming ocean; check out the Sound for signs of flooding; and gather at one of the few restaurants or hotels that remained open with other locals who opted to stick it out.

The media were always there in force as well and listening to their conversations sickened me. If the storm was predicted to hit further south or north than where they had been stationed, they bemoaned the fact that it was not coming their way. If it was headed directly for them, they salivated over the prospect of being able to cover the despair and devastation that would result. The truth of the matter is that it’s all about ratings. If you have any doubt that the media want these types of events to occur, just listen to the language of hurricanes on the Weather Channel, or on any TV weather broadcast. They say that conditions are “favorable” or “not favorable” for the formation of a tropical storm or hurricane. Please, someone tell me why the formation of a hurricane is considered “favorable?”

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