The greatest benefit of local televisions Radar Wars is the ensuing Severe Weather Coverage Wars. I think the current leader is whichever station wields the Super Gonzo Triple Doppler of Death 6000. On a recent afternoon, for instance, I beat the storm home, stretched out in the recliner and tuned in to four solid hours of detailed coverage of The End of the World:
Solemn female anchor: "We take you now to Brett Finkfinder in the Super Accurate Weather Center for an update on some severe weather. Brett, I understand it looks very red on the Channel 19 Super Accurate Super Gonzo Triple Doppler of Death 6000."
Weatherman, fighting a natural urge to smile: "Thanks, Mindy. Yes, as you can see there is a line of red stretching from Vigo County up to the northeast to Howard County. Residents in the path of this storm should be advised if they see any red or even kind of a dark pink that's very, very bad. They should stay tuned to Channel 19, as we will follow the storm on the Super Gonzo Triple Doppler of Death 6000 until the storm has passed completely out of the viewing area, no matter how long it takes."
Female anchor: "Brett, what if people lose their cable reception or lose power? How should they follow the storm then?"
Weatherman: "Beats me, Mindy. If we lose power for the Super Gonzo Triple Doppler of Death 6000, I'm under the table."
Male anchor: "O.K., let's go live to Channel 19 reporting intern Steve Smetzer, who is driving right now toward the teeth of the storm in the Channel 19 InstaNews Truck with Channel 19 photography intern Jenny Splatz. Steve, can you describe what you're seeing now?"
Intern: "Well, it's not raining or anything. There's this one cloud that looks like Mel Gibson in Braveheart, you know, when he was on the horse right before the big battle? And we passed this one car driven by some chick who looked just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. But, like, no weather or anything."
Male anchor: "Uh, that's real nice, Steve. Maybe we'll come back to you later. Let's go back to Brett Finkfinder for an update on the storm's path. Brett?"
Weatherman: "Thanks, Dave. As you can see, the line of red has crept a little bit to the right. If you are to the right of Vigo County or, if you're facing south, to the left of it you could be in for some serious redding very soon. Look out. Mindy?"
Female anchor: "Thank you, Brett. Right now, we want to present you with some safety tips as suggested by the American Weather Safety Council. If you see severe weather approaching, take the following steps:
1. Go into a basement or storm shelter. If you have neither, go to the bottom floor of your building.
2. Get underneath a sturdy table or desk.
3. Sit down and curl up with your head between your knees and your hands covering your head.
4. Kiss your ass goodbye.
Male anchor: "Mindy, sorry to interrupt, but we need to go back to Channel 19 intern Steve Smetzer with an update from the Channel 19 InstaNews Truck. Steve?
Intern, frantically: "Oh my God! We hit this stuff! It's horrible! It's just like in Twister where Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton are driving and that cow comes flying right for the window, except there aren't any cows around here, just a bunch of mobile homes, and Jenny doesn't look anything like Helen Hunt! I don't want to die in this stupid InstaNews Truck with Jenny! I don't even get paid for this !@*(@&*@) internship. Mommmmmmmyyyyyy!"
Male anchor: "That's Steve Smetzer, reporting live from up near Howard County."
Weatherman: "Dave, let me step in here just a moment. We've located the Channel 19 InstaNews Truck with the Channel 19 InstaNews Truck Tracker. Jenny and Steve have driven right into a thin band of red, as you can see as we enlarge the picture on the Super Gonzo Triple Doppler of Death 6000. If they keep driving, they should be into yellow very soon, then green. Then they'll be out of danger."
Female anchor: "Brett, what kind of update can you give us on the storm's path?"
Weatherman: "Still moving to the right. And also kind of to the bottom a little bit. It should be through the area in about four hours."
Male anchor: "And Channel 19 will be here, caring deeply about each and every one of you, never leaving the air except for commercials, until the storm has moved on. Right now we need to take a short break. We'll be back."
Fade out to one ad for local car dealer and 90 seconds of promotional spots for the Channel 19 Super Thoughtful News Team, featuring Channel 19 Super Accurate Weather, which leads the area with its new Super Gonzo Triple Doppler of Death 6000.
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