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A Tale of Two Weather Cities with side trips to Facebook and Nassau

By Alan Pergament

This is what I'm thinking about weather coverage:

The same voice in my head that told me recently to say something nice about Channel 4 sportscaster Lauren Brill and Channel 2 anchor Maryalice Demler reminded me today that I should "say something nice about meteorologists" and an airline.

I wouldn't be back in Buffalo to watch all the local weather news if it weren't for the forecasters in New York City.

On Wednesday, they predicted the Big Apple was going to be hit with a big snowstorm late Thursday and continue into Friday.

Since I was scheduled to fly home at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, I called Jet Blue and was able to change my reservation for free to 10:30 a.m. Thursday before the storm was supposed to arrive.

I got to JFK airport early Thursday and discovered my original flight had been canceled and the new flight was going to be delayed 30 minutes because of weather issues where the plane was coming from -- Washington, D.C .

Once the plane arrived, passengers were told it was going to be delayed another 30 minutes because the pilot didn't want to go to Buffalo in this brutal weather.

OK, Jet Blue didn't say that. It said the extra delay was because the airliine had to change pilots for some reason.

Once I got on the plane, the co-pilot said he and the pilot were switched to the Buffalo route after originally being scheduled to go to Nassau in the Bahamas.

And you think you had a bad day.

We eventually got in the air and arrived in Buffalo two hours late, only to sit on the plane for another hour because a gate wasn't ready.

But hey, I was home.

I got into my apartment and looked for Channel 2's new 24-hour Storm Team 2 WeatherNation digital channel, 2.2, which was supposed to be on Time Warner Cable's channel 1245. However, TWC was still carrying Antenna TV, which is moving to channel 1246.

I  found WeatherNation on my HDTV set with the help of my rabbit ears antenna that TWC gave me way back when it was battling Channel 4 over money.

Channel 2's Kevin O'Connell was giving a recorded, two-minute weather summary every 10 minutes on the 5s. The rest of the time I saw a very thin young national female meteorologist tell me what the  weather was like elsewhere. The contrast with O'Connell was enormous. As I looked at her, I was reminded that I hadn't eaten yet on Thursday.

An hour or so later, I turned on local news to see how much weather coverage there would be at the top of the newscasts.

Having seen enough of Channel 2 on WeatherNation, I watched Channel 4 and was told it was very cold outside.

First meteorologist Don Paul told me it was cold, then reporter Rich Newberg told me. Newberg was followed by reporter Rachel Kingston, who told me it was cold. And then meteoroligist Mike Cejka told me it was cold, although he didn't have the top of his coat buttoned.

Oh, yeah, and then Don Paul told me again it was cold. I'm glad they all told me because I wouldn't have known otherwise. I'm guessing the pilots who were supposed to fly to Nassau noticed.

Being told by four different people that it was cold struck me as predictable as it was funny so I posted my thoughts on Facebook.

And then a war broke out between Channel 2's O'Connell and Channel 4's Paul.

OK, it wasn't exactly a war, but a minor verbage skirmish.

"Problem is Alan you are watching the #2 weather readers," wrote O'Connell. "You should resolve in 2014 to do as more WNYers do everyday ... get your weather info from Storm Team 2."

Paul wasn't going to take that self-serving snow job without responding.

"I just heard a certain weather reader, who never even took a survey course in meteorology at Buff State referred to my weather team as weather readers," wrote Paul. "Oh, the irony.:) P.S.... I can't remember the last time I paid attention to Mychajliw, so I guess it's mutual."

The Mychajliw comment referred to a comment made by former local news reporter and current Erie County comptroller Stefan Mychajliw about my Facebook post on the weather coverage.

"One of the 6,397 reasons why no one watches local news anymore," Mychajliw wrote on the post. "Complete waste of time."

I understand his sentiment and have documented some decline in local news ratings. But I hope Mychajliw counts our money better than he counts TV audiences. I felt compelled to advise Mychajliw that "local news still does pretty well here in ratings."

I guess that means many WNYers really like being told when it is cold outside.

My Facebook post led one of my Twitter followers to claim that Channel 2 carried a story about the city opening 10 homeless shelters and telling homeless people to go on the station's website to find where they are.

The idea that the station would advise homeless people to go to a website struck me as so ridiculous I decided to endure the pain of watching more weather coverage on Channel 2's 6 p.m. news, which I had DVRed.

My Twitter follower was close. Channel 2 didn't run a story saying that, but anchor Kelly Dudzik told viewers "the times and locations (of the shelters) are posted" on the website.

Somebody should have saved Dudzik from reading a line that was something out of "Anchorman 2."

But back to the weather.

As I awoke this morning to the news that New York City got all the predicted snow and JFK airport was closed, I turned to Channel 1245 on TWC and discovered Storm Team 2 Weather Nation is now there and Antenna TV has moved to Channel 1246.

In other words, viewers now have a chance to hear it is cold outside 24 hours a day.

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Television | TV news
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