Monday, May 12, 2014

Weather Translators

Last night I sat on the couch watching various local channels track the storm that was heading across the state. I don’t normally watch the news, so it’s been a while since I’ve watched a weather segment. From what I can remember, it’s a little speech about whether or not you’ll need an umbrella tomorrow, professionally delivered by a meteorologist in a suit.
What we don’t see, behind the weather puns and the jokes with the news anchors, is a team of sky scientists who devour weather information and present it to non-sky scientists in a way that they can understand.
Meteorologists are weather translators.
When the weather is boring or normal, we don’t pay much attention to that part of the news. When the weather is exciting or dangerous, we are glued to our televisions, craving information. We may not understand how humidity relates to temperature or what it means when the wind is blowing from the northeast in one place and from the southwest five miles away, but meteorologists do, and it’s their job to explain it in a way that lets us know what’s going on (and whether we need to head to the basement).
Watching the weather coverage last night was what I imagine work is like for those sky scientists every day, with the added stress of having the cameras on and the necessity of “translating” on the fly.
Great job last night, Nebraska meteorologists; I appreciated the weather translation.

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