Between imposed evacuations, curfews, and traffic jams I guess it's fair to say that U.S news channels had a captive audience for the event that was Hurricane Irma.

And boy, did they milk it for all it was worth. Live coverage 24/7, outside broadcasts, expert guests and arresting real time imagery.

But just where is the line between public information and the reporting of actual news and outright scaremongering ... and was it crossed in the pursuit of ratings?

While I don't intend to make light of the situation, after hours of watching live streams, if I couldn't have found some humour in the coverage, I would have been willing a storm surge to wash me away from, what was in my opinion, such irresponsible reporting.


Whether it was CNN or Fox News, the over dramatisation was over the top.

Reporters out in the field, supposedly braving the elements between stints in their luxury hotel rooms, were dressed for the part.

One, in particular, had donned what I can only assume were hurricane reinforced goggles. He looked like a cross between Biggles and a Minion from the Despicable Me franchise. I probably would have opted for the full wind screen wiper, hazard light and night vision features though, frumpy fashionista that I am.

All that was missing from these live cross overs was the Gene Kelly look-a-like doing a rendition of his famous Singing In The Rain routine.

On the positive side, I did find myself intermittently educated on all things storm related, like the dirty side of the eye. I'm not too sure, however, if that's dirty as in filthy, dirty as in smutty or dirty as in Harry, but I did glean that the opposite side is not referred to as clean but it is the preferred side to be on ... go figure.

I learnt, too, how when the hurricane initially hits, it sucks up vast amounts of water as it goes, making rivers, streams and tide lines seemingly disappear until the water is violently redeposited, without warning, by the opposing end of the hurricane, hence the danger known as the storm surge.

It's quite possibly as close to teleportation as we'll ever get, in my lifetime anyway. My mind wandered ... maybe Captain Kirk and Spock weren't really being beamed up at all but rather they were caught in numerous space storms.

As Irma was slowly and progressively down graded from a category 4 to a mere tropical storm, you could almost see the disappointment on reporter's faces. Time to ramp up the fear factor with warnings of potential hazards - like the possible looting of your now evacuated home or business, electrocutions from downed power lines, drowning by storm surge, weeks without power and provisions, no emergency services ... on and on they went like stuck records.

Most disturbing though was the bit where one Anchorman stressed the importance of having the correct tools on hand.

Namely an axe and a hammer. Escaping to the higher ground of your attic, in case of flooding, would be all but futile, he reported, unless you had the means necessary to bust through your roof and signal for help.

Talk about scaring the bejeebers out of already stressed and emotionally fragile people. I was half pie expecting him to suggest you could also use these tools to kill and dismember, should you be forced to eat one another.

I was on tenterhooks, waiting for a celebrity chef to put in an appearance with helpful hints on the best human cuts, cooking times and some recipes, none of which would have been complete without a raw/pickled option for those unfortunate enough to be without power or a generator.

I'd seen enough. I went to You Tube searched The Weather Girls - It's Raining Men - dreams are free!

A storm in a tea cup? Depends on what you call news I guess. It was certainly a break from Trump-thumping.

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