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Weather In The News

We can't get enough of it.

Weather — strong, destructive, wet, and fast — is one of the few pieces of news that, through its inconsistency, has consistently captured people's attentions for generations.

We look at it with a sense of fearful awe. The whirling maps, seven-day forecasts, and lines of high and low pressure systems that sweep through the country captivate us.

Tropical Storm Chris roars westOur awe is fearful because we often find good reason to be fearful of Mother Nature's fury. Weather can be more destructive than war. A hurricane can make a bigger impact in a city than a bomb. A tornado can be a guided missile, appearing to single out its targets.

Yet, as much as we are afraid of the impact weather can have on our lives, we find ourselves unable to look away.

Weather stories live on as tall tales passed down through generations, whether it be the blizzard of '78 or Hurricane Hugo. My own family still spins a yarn about holding a Christening celebration in the midst of Hurricane Gloria in 1985, preparing food and a banquet hall in Connecticut, where there was no electricity for days on end.

Hurricane Gloria caused $900 million in property damage and took eight lives, making landfall three times in the United States before it was through in late September.

The aftermath of a tornado. (Courtesy of Flickr)Even the worst of the worst, Hurricane Katrina, led to Pulitzer Prize winning journalism. Extreme weather is also a mainstay of educational television. The Discovery Channel runs long-form documentaries on tornadoes, hurricanes and more recently, tsunamis. Hypothetical features like The Weather Channel's "It Could Happen Tomorrow" discuss the effects of extreme weather on regions that are ill-prepared for it.

Recently, with a major heat wave streaming west-east, local television stations like Fox 25 in Boston and WLS-TV in Chicago are leading with the weather.

Though dreaded, the elements create a buzz in the media. Weather certainly doesn't seem to need a publicist.

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