It's time to play storm coverage cliché bingo -- or a spiked hot chocolate drinking game

February 01, 2022, 9:34 PM

Snowflakes won't be the only predictable sign of winter these next couple of days.

Weathercasters and anchors will shovel a flurry of familiar phrases, gimmicks, banter and warnings into local newscasts -- plus useful info about closings, road conditions and what's ahead as perhaps a foot or more of snow blows in by Thursday night.

What the National Weather Service calls a "long-duration event" is a good time to play amusing rounds of Catch the Cliché in broadcast, online and print weather coverage. The format can vary from unstructured (shout "that's one") to formal (sketch a bingo grid with entries from the list below and personal additions) to adult-beverage risky.

This may seem too easy, but see if it gains appeal when hunkering down stretches into day two.

Start anytime -- on-air clichés are swirling already. Take a point, a shout or a shot when you see or hear each of these seasonal standards:

❄️ Grocery checkout lines and dwindling dairy or bread sections. (The Freep is on it Tuesday afternoon "as customers stocked up on everything from bananas and pet food to toilet paper.")

(Photo: WDIV)

❄️ Plow driver interview or ride-along. Bonus: Salt mound in background. ("Drivers are ready and so are the vehicles," WDIV reassures. "Slow down and give the plows space to work," WXYZ reminds.)

❄️ Resident shoveling or snowblowing, plus tips "on how to stay safe while clearing away the snow," as WWJ and WXYZ recycle Tuesday.

❄️ Ruler shows snow depth. WDIV makles this a score-anytime freebie by linking to its live SnowCam ruler, which shows inches and centimeters to "track the snowfall right here."   

❄️ Reporter at road or overpass -- standups need visuals, of course, but take a shot or point anyhow.

❄️ "Stay warm" or "stay safe," anchor tells field reporter.

❄️ "We have team coverage" -- guaranteed serially, so just one-half point or shot.

❄️ "White stuff" -- take a point or shot, but switch the channel.

❄️ "Winter Storm Landon" -- It's snowfall, not a hurricane or a dude. Hearing first-name familiarity earns you a shot. (And Paul Gross of WDIV earns a shout for tweeting: "I'm vehemently against naming winter storms.")

❄️ Your community is on snow totals list -- bonus if double-digits.

❄️ Photos of yards, decks, kids and pets from viewers or readers. WDIV qualifies for a double-shot with a bonus cliché: "Show us how much snow you get in your neck of the woods." 

-- Alan Stamm

Inspiration hat tip to the wags at WWBX-FM in Boston, who tweeted a Local News Blizzard Coverage Bingo grid Sunday as a "bomb cyclone" bore down. 

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