I’ve noticed the weather people now only present wind chills in the winter or heat index in the summer. I guess actual temperatures just aren’t sexy enough or sensational enough to today’s sophisticated and discerning weather consumer. Presenting only the wind chill is the same as saying, “This is what the temperature would be if it was much, much colder outside than the thermometer says it is. Please buy our sponsor’s products!”
Personally, I call it “weather inflation”.
Why say it is 45 degrees outside on a winter day if you can say it is 28? More ratings!
Why say it is 87 degrees outside in the summer if you can say it is 105? People tune in!
But why stop there? Why not have some sort of “Rainfall Intensity Index”? After a mere trace of rain, the breathless TV meteorologist could declare, “We have received the equivalent of 12 inches of rain!!” (Only if it were to continue raining at this rate for another 40 days without stopping. Brought to you by Acme Ark Company, Inc.)
Why not have a cloudiness index? “The clouds are so thick we will never see the sun again!” (If the jet stream dissipates and the clouds have nothing to move them along.)
A wind index? “Winds are expected to reach 70 miles per hour!!” (If we were 70,000 feet above where we are now.)
Frankly, I am quite put off by the whole thing. I can never tell anymore just from watching TV or listening to the radio what the weather is actually doing. In spite of decades of improvement in weather measuring technology, the advent of the Internet, satellite weather monitoring, and mind-bogglingly powerful computers, I now have to do what my forefathers did back in the 1930s to find out what the weather is doing.
I have to go outside and look up.