Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Widely-Scattered Thunderstorms

Once upon a time, back in the days when dragons roamed the earth and Maidens Fair were rescued by Knights Brave, I worked at a radio station in Bridgeport CT. It had quite a range and our weather forecasts reflected this. Or so we made it sound.

In the studio, we had three large-print sheets with names of towns in CT, Suburban NY and Long Island. As we gave the weather, we would say, “Including…”and read one from each list. “Pin-Point Weather,” they’d call it today, except it was simply what the Weather Bureau sent over the AP wire, which we read straight over the air.

It was the 5-County Forecast, for our coverage area. One forecast for five counties; one size was going to fit all. Pin-Point, if your pin was a railroad spike.

Our news broadcasts were a bit more formal. We had the Area Average Temperature, which was computed by, no surprise, averaging the temps from various places in the five counties. Coincidentally, it was the same as the thermometer on the fire escape outside the newsroom, which went when its owner, the overnight dj, was fired.

For a while, we depended on a service out of Denver, which assumed if it was rainy 60% of the time on a given date, then we had a 60% chance of rain today. They didn’t last long.

In the summer, we figured someone, somewhere, could be having a thunderstorm. So every newscast ended with, “Slight chance of widely scattered thunderstorms.”


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