Film at Eleven

Forget about presidential infidelity accusations or Russian collusion, the real fake news is—weather reporting. How many times have we been warned of a coming El Niño and it amounts to five minutes of sort-of steady rain followed by two minutes of sporadic dribbling, like an old man with prostate problems.

But Expect Sporadic Dribbling doesn’t sound sexy like: AccuWeather Storm Watch Drone Force Nine with Mega Doppler 7000. And why is there always film at eleven—never now? And why does the army of cloned weather Barbies always say, “Tracking the storm. When will the rain stop?”

“When it will stop?” Really? It hasn’t even started yet.

Luckily for you, I have deciphered weatherspeak, and as you’ve probably suspected, they make this stuff up.

Slight Chance of Rain actually means: This “storm” will produce thirty-foot raindrops, which are raindrops that are thirty feet apart, or it could just spit a little, like my 90-year-old dad when he yells at the TV while watching Jeopardy.

Chance of Rain starting Tuesday: Means don’t wear your raincoat until Thursday. And even then it’s iffy. You know, just forget it. Who needs a raincoat in Southern California?

The term Storm Watch is a blatant teaser that really means—Enjoy the big puffy boy-who-cried-wolf clouds that look like rain, but will blow away without even spotting your newly washed car.

Storm Warning means at least 15 minutes of steady rain—somewhere, but most likely, not where you are.

40% Chance of Rain means, “Don’t cancel your bar-be-cue plans.”

Scattered Thunderstorms means, one clap of thunder that might actually have been the neighbor slamming his gate, hard to tell. Just an aside, have you ever wondered why it’s always thunderstorms, never lightningstorms? If I were lightning, I’d feel slighted, like I was getting short shrift. And speaking of that, have you ever wondered why there’s no long shrift?

But I digress.

Flash Flood Warning means that the skies will open up in Biblical proportions, but only on those daring risk takers who bought a house on a cliff or beneath a cliff. Just stay away from cliffs and you’re fine.

Now I’d like to add one more category, which I call: Just Kidding. This is for when they get it outlandishly wrong, and would, of course, be the most-used category.

And this bit of technological flummery really gets me: Download our free Weather Tracker App. Tell me, who in Southern California needs a weather tracker app?

Today with all the Doppler radars, satellites and cute weather clones, you’d think they could predict rain with at least flip-of-a-coin accuracy. But, no.

How many bogus watches and warnings can they issue before we stick our fingers in our ears and say: “La, la, la, I’m not listening.” Any one of us could make better predictions by simply stepping outside. Yep. No rain today.

TV meteorologists should dump all the technology and go back to the look- out-the-window method, and frankly, I don’t care if they have film at eleven.