Storm of the Century … of the Week

And the news coverage continues….

During the last year El Nino year storms there was non-stop “Storm Watch.”. It became so popular that the watch continued into ‘98 and ‘99, and into the millenium. But in those years since El Nino, the storm watch in Southern California has been a wasteland, and every year since into the 20-teens, we wage war with the weather in one way or another.

The side effect an El Nino is a La Nina, a weather pattern that brings about cold and dry winters. And, if a La Nina extends into another year, the storms are far and few between.

But the sturdy news media, television in particular, stands stoically, prepared for the worst — sometimes, it appears, hoping for the worst. Earlier this week, a large swell rose from the sea and waves actually broke on the east side of a local pier.

The waves were big, the tide was high, and city officials deemed the conditions enough of a threat to build a berm. Granted, high surf advisories and the berm are, indeed, necessary, but is the bombardment of media coverage that comes with the threat really needed?

It seems as if news crews hit the beaches much harder than the waves. There is a difference between reporting and assaulting, and more often than not, television news does the latter.

On Monday, news vans could be seen on the Pacific Coast highway getting footage of the “devastating” waves. And, with the announcement of the berm, coinciding with the high tide and large swell, the media was poised for a disaster.

However, lifeguards seemed confident that the conditions weren’t right to cause any coastal flooding. Beachfront residents appeared to be more interested in watching waves break on the east side of the pier — a local rarity. Similar conditions occurred a few months back, which did cause some minor flooding.

Fortunately, minimal damage was reported. However, if one was to watch the barrage of reports on the evening news, it would have appeared as though the city was about to be engulfed by the sea’s mighty wrath.

Within 24 hours the swell subsided and things returned to normal. A short while later, the berm was taken down and the sand dispersed across the beach.

There was no mention on the television news that things were okay. A bigger disaster had come along by then. Similarly, on Monday afternoon, the high tides and the pounding swells were, not only a surfer’s paradise, but a news crews’ as well.

Words like “threat,” “danger,” and “flooding” were used. As the tide rose, it became apparent that there would be no devastation — not this time anyway.

The crews left seeking out another disaster … and they found one. In search of a story, people often fain sincerity at the cost of those who have the most to lose.

It’s no wonder that non-Californians are convinced that the state is going to one day sink into the sea and make Nevada beachfront property.

by Brian Barsuglia