White Christmas Hype Obscures Major Story

I realize our local television weatherpersons need to warn us of approaching storms, such as the possibility of snow on Christmas, but the real weather story here remains the drought and the record high annual temperature for the year.

The real story might not be as exciting as the potential for a short-lived snowstorm in Oklahoma, which has been presented to us in relentless and breathless newspeak for more than a week, but it deserves more serious discussion among our local meteorologists on a consistent basis.

Just last week, for example, Norman, Midwest City and Del City residents learned that low water levels at Lake Thunderbird caused by the drought could result in water conservation efforts soon. Right now much of the state is 9 to 12 inches below its average annual rainfall amount. A moderate snowstorm won’t even make a dent in that average.

Meanwhile, this could be the warmest year on record for both Oklahoma and the Lower 48, according to the National Weather Service. If that doesn’t happen, it will certainly be one of the warmest years ever.

Of course, the relationship of the drought and higher temperatures to global warming won’t get much, if any, discussion by our local meteorologists. Not even the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, a weather event widely attributed to global warming, can dislodge the influence here of oil and gas companies and Oklahoma’s U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, who calls climate-change science a hoax.

But even so, the drought and higher temperatures remain the most important weather story of the year, and no amount of winter-storm hype can change that. By all means, enjoy your white Christmas, if it happens and doesn’t seriously interfere with your life, but if our local news stations here and elsewhere would invest just a miniscule of the energy to covering climate change that they give to the latest over-hyped weather event, people might become more aware of the major threat facing our planet.