Last Week Tonight with John Oliver looked at the world of weather forecasting from the inside and outside.
We are about at that time of year when the weather really starts to change for most of the country. Shifting temperatures along with rain and snow storms means a lot of checks on the weather forecasts. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver explained how there is much more going on behind the scenes of weather forecasting than you may think.
In typical Last Week Tonight fashion, Sunday night’s episode took an ordinary topic and made it compelling, informative, and hilarious. Some people may consider weather a topic just for small talk or the only part of their local news broadcast worth watching. But John Oliver made it clear that there is much more behind how weather is forecasted and then reported to the public.
The world of weather predictions did have a moment earlier this year. President Donald Trump made headlines for altering a map forecasting the path of a hurricane to compensate for his erroneous tweet. The story was covered for days and involved the Trump White House, National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The NWS and NOAA were the primary focus of John Oliver’s segment on the weather. The Last Week Tonight host highlights the importance of NWS and why that service is facing some potentially very bad news.
Oliver details how private companies like AccuWeather and The Weather Channel get their data from the NWS, which in turn gets help from the World Meteorological Organization. As Oliver points out, these weather forecasts can then do everything from helping truckers find the safest road to saving Eddie Vedder from a lightning strike.
The relationship between the NWS and private companies has been mutually beneficial, but not always friendly. Last Week Tonight shows us the efforts of companies like AccuWeather to ensure that the NWS didn’t give forecasts directly to the public as well as how founder Joel Myers looks at areas that don’t subscribe to the service.
Oliver closes out the segment by reinforcing the importance of the NWS and the need for leadership that accepts international cooperation and resists the influence of the private sector. The problem, Oliver tells us, is that President Trump is that leader. And his attempt to name AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers as head of the NWS was a predictably bad idea.
All the reasons why Barry Myers should not run the NWS are laid out by Oliver. It all begs the question why not find someone else? The answer is party Trump’s fault and partly the public’s fault for not paying attention says the Last Week Tonight host.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has been working to bring the public’s attention on to otherwise ignored or under-reported stories. This latest example about the National Weather Service and AccuWeather is further proof of why Last Week Tonight may be the most important show in late night.