If we are to believe the news reports, there has been a severe outbreak of weather during December.
More weather than you could normally expect, but a bit less than we once might have had.
Ah yes, the national weather index is off the map – literally.
The state of weather reporting reminds us that we humans have some short-term memory issues.
People! It’s December – nearly January – and at this time of the year we get hot days. We get a bit of humidity, and unsettled, rumbly storms.
And up in Queensland, it rains a fair bit and people send in pictures of some lightning and a few hail stones as big as hail stones always are.
But always, people go: “Yowsers, did you see that weather?” Or: “Can you believe this weather?”
Or (most infuriatingly): “Hot enough for you?”
In Benders in this past week we’ve had one day that seemed what we would have called hot when we were kids, charging around the paddocks throwing died cow pats at each other.
Just one. Up to today, the maximums were 31.5, 26, 36, 31, 34, 34 and probably 30 today (Friday).
C’mon. That’s hardly enough to make it a tad swampy in the pits.
However, people are ominously predicting power brownouts as Victorians turn their air conditioners to full blast.
Watching the TV news with Mrs Whacked the other night, I remarked it was like Groundhog Year.
Stifling in the Northern Territory, swampy and stormy in Queensland, hot in South Australia, warm in Western Australia.
“I reckon I know why there’s so much weather,” I said.
“It’s because each of the networks has highly paid people to provide the weather reports in an entertaining way, so they have to pretend that something unusual or interesting has happened, or else people would go back to watching re-runs of Antiques Roadshow.
Think about it. Especially in the mornings, weather sport presenters have to be zany, comic, the main show, doing stupid things and laughing like hyenas on heroin.
The concept is as silly as having news reports presented by comedians. Oh wait …
They are allotted, say, five minutes and must fill that slot with all sorts of silliness and weather.
It’s an example of an old saying about newspapers: “All the news that fits.”
Back in the ’70s, ABC TV wouldn’t have put up with this. It would have had a well-spoken gentleman in a suit and tie and a wooden stick to point to the movements on the synoptic charts.
Then, commercial TV decided weather was women’s work, not men, possibly to try to make weather sexy, and now some are drifting back to employing chaps.
The ABC once showed it knew how to make weather reports more perve-worthy.
It was back in the late ’70s at ABC TV in Hobart.
It might have been a Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
The weather presenter had a big board with layers of butcher’s paper beside him, and he’d fold back the paper sheets as the reports went on.
He had just arrived at the forecasts for the next day and lifted the sheet to reveal … that someone had stapled a Playboy centrefold on it. That caused a mini heatwave.