Weathering the Storm: Tornadoes, Television, and Turmoil

Gary A. England, Author
Gary A. England, Author University of Oklahoma Press $24.95 (225p) ISBN 978-0-8061-2823-8
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Paperback - 250 pages - 978-0-8061-2942-6
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There might be an interesting book on this subject, on the idea that weather forecasts, once disdained by news programs, have now been given huge chunks of news shows with elaborate maps, charts, graphics and machines. This isn't that book. England, who won an Emmy in 1994 as a weather anchor, recounts an Oklahoma boyhood defined in some part by tornadoes, his stint in the Navy and his tenure at KWTV in Oklahoma City starting in 1972. Most of the rest of the story is one of technological innovation and change of attitudes that brought meteorology to the forefront of television coverage. Readers who think the whole weather thing has gone too far will find themselves agreeing not with England but rather with the ""newsies"" who ""were appalled that I was bringing humor, fun, and happiness to the television news."" (Part of this fun involved a schtick about an imaginary 805-pound thunder lizard--one imagines a Technicolor meteorological Barney and cringes.) All of this is told through reconstructed dialogues (""Priority one, tornado warning, take pointer over Doppler radar. I am ready!"") and panicky gee-whiz prose (""The mesocyclone winds were now over 80 MPH. It was going to happen, and there was nothing I could do about it!"") that don't help matters. (May)
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