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No business like snow business

Misty water-colored memories of the way he was: NBC5 reporter Ken Kalthoff survived the great foot-long snow storm of 2010. But the much-hyped sequel mostly turned to dust Tuesday. Photo: Ed Bark

They just can't help themselves. Never err on the side of caution when inclement weather is even a remote possibility. Every TV news department in captivity knows it's the easiest path to a ratings windfall. So flog it and slice the sports segment if necessary. Those guys are dinosaurs anyway.

Alas, the snowfall so boldly predicted for Tuesday became little more than an inconsequential dusting in the immediate D-FW viewing area.

Reporters who got all dressed up and braved the elements earlier in February could count more dandruff flakes on their heads this time around.

And how about those weathercasters who can't resist the primal urge to strip down to shirtsleeves when the going gets rough? They ended up being all dressed down with nowhere to go.

So what have we learned from this? Essentially nothing. Weather calls the tune, whether it's a sub-freezing "Arctic Blast," a blowhard wind, hail the size of chick peas, rain beyond the one-inch level or -- best of all -- snow! Leading a newscast with a weather bulletin -- while promising further details around the corner -- increasingly is business as usual on newscasts at all times of the day.

And who are we not to watch? A thousand and one editions of sports anchor Dale Hansen's "Unplugged" commentaries on WFAA8 pale next to forecaster Pete Delkus topping a newscast by saying, "Plunging temperatures could mean sweater weather tomorrow, with the cold snap just beginning. We'll have your complete forecast in just a few minutes."

Cue a well-practiced groan from warm weather-loving news anchor John McCaa. Repeat this basic formula on Fox4, NBC5 and CBS11.

We leave you with a MADtv sketch that's still a howl 13 years later. It's titled "Windstorm '97," with 11-15 mph gusts ravaging the Southland while news anchors, meteorologist Chance Cumulus and a reporter in the field take turns spreading panic.