Snow has dominated the national and local news over the past
week and for good reason. Media outlets and especially TV stations really hear
it from the viewers when we may miss the mark on a severe weather forecast, and
at this time of year, severe weather is spelled S-N-O-W!!!
The "S" word has a great deal more significance in the south
than it does in the north, for obvious reasons, but the best way to avoid a
totally meltdown is to plan, plan and plan some more. I can personally attest
to the huge improvement in readiness on the part of Central Virginia. 15 years
ago, the region's reaction to the last two snow events would have been at epic
proportions. Now we respond like a region that is prepared.
A few things were at play in some of our more southern
markets this past week: weather forecasts, plans and regional cooperation. For
days in advance, the majority of the TV stations in the hardest hit southern
markets were forecasting that severe weather was coming. Trust me I know,
because we have Raycom sister TV stations in Alabama and Georgia. Many local jurisdictions
did not have contingencies in place and the results were apparent.
The lesson in all of this is that a forecast provides an
opportunity to prepare. Media outlets work overtime so that everyone has an
opportunity to be ready. Yes there will be times when Mother Nature is kinder
and gentler, but we should never take a forecast and the opportunity to plan