A Yahoo News correspondent and author of a book about the weather culture in Oklahoma has written a defense of local meteorologists in The Washington Post.
While Holly Bailey‘s defense is justified, since what local TV meteorologists do in weather heavy regions is necessary, the backstory she adds to her story reveals that a lot of the weather standards used today started in Oklahoma, where local TV forecasters are more than on-air entertainers.
In fact, just about everything that defines modern-day weather coverage was born in Oklahoma City because of its tempestuous relationship with Mother Nature. Every major station in the country has a Doppler radar these days. But [KWTV’s Gary] England was the first TV meteorologist to use one to issue a tornado warning on live television, prompting the national media to descend on Oklahoma City to find out who this renegade weatherman was. (In an interview with The Washington Post in 1985, England explained that he loved his new radar so much, “If it had hair, I’d marry it.”) Streaming video of storms over cellphones? That was invented in Oklahoma City, too, using military-style satellite phones decades before the era of the iPhone gave everybody the potential to be a live-action storm chaser.
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