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Channel 9 totally failed at last night’s severe weather coverage…

news 9 weather coverage

Last night was the first big weather event of the 2013 severe storm season. It was pretty typical stuff. There were heavy rains, strong winds, damaging hail, hook echoes, flash floods and an occasional tornado. That being said, the night was also strange and unfamiliar. We had David Payne yelling over Gary England on Channel 9, witnessed Damon Lane have a mild panic attack on Channel 5, and watched some hotshot young storm chaser on Channel 4 drive around in a car that was stolen from the set of the A-Team (more on him later today).

Yes, last night we got a first look at our new local severe weather teams. If you remember correctly, David Payne and Jim Gardner left Channel 4 and jumped ship to Channel 9, Rick Mitchell fled Channel 5 for Dallas and was replaced by Damon Lane, and, as we learned yesterday, Mike Morgan hired some guy named Reed Timmer to be his new bionic storm chaser.

The most anticipated debut was that of the new Channel 9 Dream Team. They had Gary England and Michael Armstrong in studio, Jim Gardner in the air, and David Payne and Val Caster chasing storms with Gentners in hand. Their wall cloud to wall cloud coverage of the storm can be summarized by this clip.

Watch the clip again and look at the expression on Armstrong's face. I think you can see flaming hailstones in his eyes. The coverage really was that bad, and was like that for most of the night. To say that Channel 9 had too many cooks in the kitchen would be an understatement. It was like watching a group of people have an argument on a reality show; there were lots of screamers, not enough listeners and you really wanted to change the channel.

To make matters worse, there were several awkward moments where Gary tried to pull a CNN and use a gigantic touchscreen to show what was happening on radar. He couldn't get the device figured out and was obviously frustrated. It was like watching your grandpa attempt to figure out an unfamiliar remote control and TV set-up. He wanted to flip it over to CNN, but forgot to hit AUX and ended up on some channel showing static. Then he'd get flustered, inadvertently turn up the volume, start the DVD player, and wait for his grandkid to figure out the "rascal."

Here's a clip:

That's just depressing. Gary England is the king cobra of weather badasses. He fries tornados on Dopplar radar for dinner. I can't handle him getting old. Hopefully Channel 9 ditches the super iPad and puts Gary in front of a green screen where he belongs.

Anyway, the Channel 9 weather crew was supposed to be a Dream Team, but right now they're looking like this season's Lakers. They seem to be heavy on egos, but low on teamwork and chemistry. Let's just hope they get everything figured out before Gary England tears his achilles. That would suck.

p.s. - I'll have a separate post up later today about the new KFOR weather coverage, including some information on their new bionic storm chaser Reed Timmer.

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