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"First Alert/Next Weather Days"


GodfreyGR
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Soapbox rant- but as much of the country has been dealing with record cold, and other localized issues, one thing that I've noticed is the new trend of TV stations "issuing" (insert weather branding here) "Alert Days".

 

Some people are in serious danger- and the National Weather Service is doing (I think) a good job trying to keep the national Christmas Tree of watches/warnings/advisories clear and concise. Tv stations are diluting that for a cheap attempt at ratings points by starting a newscast with "We have issued a weather alert day for tomorrow". How long until viewers start tuning out the over sensationalizing of severe/extreme weather as just station hype putting communities into real danger?

 

Directors/Managers- What's the logic and reasoning behind issuing "alert days" beyond the watches/warnings from NWS? Genuinely curious. 

 

Full disclosure- I've noticed this on my local CBS and Gray-owned stations. 

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4 hours ago, GodfreyGR said:

Soapbox rant- but as much of the country has been dealing with record cold, and other localized issues, one thing that I've noticed is the new trend of TV stations "issuing" (insert weather branding here) "Alert Days".

 

Some people are in serious danger- and the National Weather Service is doing (I think) a good job trying to keep the national Christmas Tree of watches/warnings/advisories clear and concise. Tv stations are diluting that for a cheap attempt at ratings points by starting a newscast with "We have issued a weather alert day for tomorrow". How long until viewers start tuning out the over sensationalizing of severe/extreme weather as just station hype putting communities into real danger?

 

Directors/Managers- What's the logic and reasoning behind issuing "alert days" beyond the watches/warnings from NWS? Genuinely curious. 

 

Full disclosure- I've noticed this on my local CBS and Gray-owned stations. 


I noticed one of the stations (market #35) issue a weather impact (alert) day in early May. I believe it was because of the heat/air quality. It was the first time I had heard of such a thing.

 

One would assume no station (regardless of market) has the authority to ‘issue’ a weather alert. No doubt the station could say they’re doing so under the guise of a ‘public service’ to avoid getting in trouble.
 

It appears that there’s a loophole/grey area some stations are taking advantage of by issuing weather alerts. You’re correct that this can become very problematic.

Edited by jase
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It's marketing. That's it. An attempt to make them look like they're way ahead of the game with weather. An argument can be made that they're beneficial in the sense that it's very visibly labeling a day as one to be aware of because inclement weather may be a problem.. There has been a push among meteorologists the last few years (in conjunction with NWS) for the public to be more "weather aware."


The problems with out some TV stations do it, however, is it's often subjective and sometimes not even a decision made by the meteorologist. NDs will hear a forecast for rain on Tuesday and might decide it needs to be an "alert day" even though it's just plain, normal rain. No thunder, nothing severe. Hearst does this under "impact days" which is supposed to be super broad - weather that's different than dry and temperate. They also run the risk of being over used. Like breaking news, if every drop of rain is an alert day, nothing is an alert day.

 

If you're in a market where more than one station does this, Station A might say Wednesday is a whatever day because of x forecast, but Station B might have nothing because it's nothing dangerous. "So how important is it?" a viewer might ask if they see multiple forecasts.

 

Another big problem is that they have to be explained. Hearst stations have a label on their 7-day to explain what each impact icon is supposed to mean. I've had people ask me what they mean. If you have to explain it or the viewer is confused/distracted by it, it's too complicated and not serving a purpose.

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With the CBS-mandated Next/First alert, it seems a 'yellow alert' is issued for weather that will have some form of impact on a person's routine, with a 'Red alert' as weather having a major impact on a persons routine. I would like to think that it's the meteorologist/weather producer who issues/decides these and not the ND, because otherwise they would totally overhype the yellow/red alert days for rating purposes (next thing you know there would be green alert days for good weather days 😅). From what I've seen so far, WCBS (at least here in NY) doesn't 'over-issue' these alert days and they do seem warranted. The 7 day then just gets colored red or yellow on that day. Hopefully people are able to recognize that a "red alert" or "yellow alert" is not an actual government warning lol. But yeah I've definitely had this thought in my head about it confusing people with actual necessary government alerts (and I definitely wonder what the NWS thinks of this new trend and if they also share this fear of confusion).

Edited by NYNewsCoverage
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I've lived in California 40+ years and it's hilarious to hear the term 'FIRST ALERT ACTION DAY' on some rainy days... So much so, that I actually laugh out loud at the TV.  What actions am I supposed to take?  Make sure the car windows are rolled up because of the drizzle?😄   Granted, there can be snowy conditions in higher elevations... But nothing that requires immediate 'action' of some sort.  California is not hurricane/tornado territory and the 'FIRST ALERT ACTION DAY' terminology screams as if some clueless idiot from corporate back east came up with it.  It just doesn't fit in this part of the world.  And don't get me started on the term "atmospheric river".  It sounds like I'll need a lifeboat if I'm gonna go skydiving or something.  SMH.  They're called storms... and used to be referred to as a line of storms.  So tired of these gimmicky terms trying to sell me a forecast that I can instead bring up on my phone in half a second.      

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1 hour ago, RCA TK47 said:

I've lived in California 40+ years and it's hilarious to hear the term 'FIRST ALERT ACTION DAY' on some rainy days... So much so, that I actually laugh out loud at the TV.  What actions am I supposed to take?  Make sure the car windows are rolled up because of the drizzle?😄   Granted, there can be snowy conditions in higher elevations... But nothing that requires immediate 'action' of some sort.  California is not hurricane/tornado territory and the 'FIRST ALERT ACTION DAY' terminology screams as if some clueless idiot from corporate back east came up with it.  It just doesn't fit in this part of the world.  And don't get me started on the term "atmospheric river".  It sounds like I'll need a lifeboat if I'm gonna go skydiving or something.  SMH.  They're called storms... and used to be referred to as a line of storms.  So tired of these gimmicky terms trying to sell me a forecast that I can instead bring up on my phone in half a second.      

Thank you for mentioning the atmospheric river term. It seems like in the past 1-2 years, everything is suddenly an atmospheric river or a bomb cyclone.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/24/2022 at 8:23 AM, GodfreyGR said:

Soapbox rant- but as much of the country has been dealing with record cold, and other localized issues, one thing that I've noticed is the new trend of TV stations "issuing" (insert weather branding here) "Alert Days".

 

Some people are in serious danger- and the National Weather Service is doing (I think) a good job trying to keep the national Christmas Tree of watches/warnings/advisories clear and concise. Tv stations are diluting that for a cheap attempt at ratings points by starting a newscast with "We have issued a weather alert day for tomorrow". How long until viewers start tuning out the over sensationalizing of severe/extreme weather as just station hype putting communities into real danger?

 

Directors/Managers- What's the logic and reasoning behind issuing "alert days" beyond the watches/warnings from NWS? Genuinely curious. 

 

Full disclosure- I've noticed this on my local CBS and Gray-owned stations. 

 

I don't know how long it's been happening at Gray stations but once Gray bought Meredith, they unfortunately forced this weather branding and scheme onto KPTV. Their main evening meteorologist is probably the best in the market and I feel bad he has to shill this new marketing as he is usually pretty non-sensational. KPTV has a pretty solid combined news and weather branding. "First. Live. Local." Not anymore.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I prefer Pineapple Express. I don't mind the weather alert days during thunderstorms that NWS puts the orange level WWMT was the first to use it in 2021 then WOODTV started to do it last year with low, medium. & high for damaging winds, tornadoes, & hail etc. They don't over use them just to be weather aware when it is warranted.

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