Last week, violent winds, golf ball sized hail, and torrential rains swept across a city desperate to see any sort of precipitation. As we have so many times in the past, Kansas Citians tuned into their local television stations to watch storm coverage.
KC has found a strange amount of both solace and entertainment from the calming voices of Bryan Busby, Gary Lezak, Mike Thompson, and Joe Lauria on their televisions. For years, Katie Horner has welcomed bow echoes and trained spotter information with a sense of purpose and, maybe a little good natured fear.
But as this generation’s Lezaks took over for the Dan Henrys of the world, when we tuned our TV’s to 4, 5, 9, or 41, we saw none of the names above. Instead, we saw Chad Crilley, Alex Countee, Jacob Lanier, and Alena Lee. Not even an Erin Little or a Jeff Penner or a Karli Ritter to be found.
What I learned while flipping through those channels is that Kansas City weather reporters have slowly replaced the old guard and this new guard is measured and reasoned. At no point did anyone recommend going to your bunker and putting a helmet on. At no point did anyone challenge me to go sit in the bathtub until the storm cleared. Instead, we heard about the path of the storm, the relative wind speeds and the cities impacted like I was sitting in a 6th grade science class.
It was a much more muted storm with, what I called on Twitter, the JV team of weather reporters in Kansas City. Through a phase of retirements and some rare days off, this is going to be pretty close to the future of weather coverage here in town and I, for one, feel a little cheated.
We used to all cower in the basements with the TVs turned way up listening to Gary or Bryan or Katie scream at us about destruction heading our way. Of course, this wasn’t always intended – it’s just how it came out.
Thanks to a combination of climate change and all these new meteorologists, we get fewer storms for whatever reason, and these new weather reporters nearly put me to sleep.
My tongue is mostly in my cheek given the long history of histrionics with our local weather people, but last week’s JV outing was like watching paint dry. We need to come up with a middle-ground. Maybe mix in a few sound effects or some funny rain gif’s with all of this calming forecasting.
The other thing that I hope will come out with this next group is personalities. In seconds, you could tell whether Gary Lezak was going to tell you whether your picnic was going to be rained out or was still on. You could tell whether Bryan Busby is going to cancel your softball game and you could surely tell whether Katie Horner was about to tell you if it was going to hail.
These kids last week showed no personality at all and I guess that will all be born out of future appearances and familiarity. But it’s something we need to get from these folks. Give us a little razzle dazzle for those of us who grab a beer and watch the ‘naders head our way. Give us some sparkle and pizzazz for those squall lines, and maybe just give us a little “GET TO YOUR BUNKER” for old time sake.
These new meteorologists will take some getting used to, but maybe if they can give us some of their personality, we’ll be asking “Gary, who?” in no time.
(Get more Chris Kamler’s personality, whether you need it or not, on Twitter where he is @TheFakeNed)