Monsoon Madness

Since monsoons seem to be the only news in town, New Times chief meteorologist Robert Nelson answers your Monsoon 2002 questions

 QUESTION: When a monsoon comes and floods the roads, should I drive through the water?

ANSWER: Yes. Your vehicle is equipped with flotation equipment made mandatory following Ralph Nader's investigation of the Disney hit Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. If you are heroic enough to drive into the flooded area, you will be visited by one of our news helicopters and will get to play a prominent role in our evening news.

Q: During Sunday night's massive storm, a clear, moist substance dropped from the sky onto my house. My grandfather says he saw the stuff as a child, but he couldn't remember what it was called. Does it have a name?

New Times chief meteorologist Robert Nelson.
New Times chief meteorologist Robert Nelson.

A: Yes. It's called "fire retardant."

Q: How does our summer heat affect the monsoon?

A: Heat is a form of science called "warmth." You can see changes in warmth documented on our television news broadcast, or in the pages of our daily newspaper, or on our Web site,, or by talking with your mother, who is also owned by our parent company, Gannett Inc.

Q: What is that funny name given to those giant walls of dust?

A: Those are called "haboobs," from the Arabic word "ha," meaning "wow, those clouds look like," and the Arabic word "boobs," meaning "huge boobs." These dust storms cause an influx of helicopter pilots called "TV journalists," who flock to the clouds on what are called "slow news days," which are days on which minor weather events are treated like the Apocalypse.

Q: So, is local television news celebrity Liz Habib named after one of these giant walls of dust?

A: Yes. She was born Elizabeth McHabowitzstein in the Jewish-Irish ghettos of Tehran. She decided her name was too ethnic for this market, so she thought it appropriate to name herself after the region's largest purveyor of hot air. After an outbreak of rest-room graffiti, she changed her name from Liz Haboob to Liz Habib.

Q: How do you stand in front of the TV weather map and not cast a shadow?

A: Evil curse. It's mandatory.

Q: During Sunday night's storm, local television weathermen appeared to be making wild animal love to their Doppler weather maps. Is that legal?

A: Weathermen, particularly weekend weathermen, aren't aroused by traditional embodiments of sexuality. Sunday's Doppler radar showed a dominating, hot, wet, fast-moving storm with large haboobs and a cherry-red region of intense agitation. In the business, the climax of this arousal is called "cloud seeding." The Supreme Court is currently debating whether "cloud seeding" is real porn.

Q: Monsoons are bad. Whose fault are they?

A: Environmentalists.

Q: If I encounter a haboob, what should I do?

A: Back away slowly. Do not stare at it. Don't jump in the pool, it'll just wait for you to come up for air. Once clear, run to your car and drive toward a flooded roadway.

Q: During Sunday night's storm, several television news reporters told viewers who had lost their power to stay tuned for information about power outages. How could people have been watching their televisions if their power was out?

A: If you couldn't tell by their intellect, many local news reporters grew up on isolated farms in the Ozarks where stills and televisions are run by car batteries, which aren't affected by outages. Power plants and power lines are unknown concepts to them. You'll also see this phenomenon during incest stories, when local broadcasters appear baffled that someone was arrested for having sex with their sister or brother.

Q: Do pool fences stop haboobs?

A: No. So don't put one around your pool. Also, if you have small children, having a pool fence will only lessen your chances of leading our evening news broadcast.

Q: I have friends in other states who say we have no weather here. They make fun of us for treating monsoons like major catastrophes. Do you think they're right?


Q: How does award-winning investigative newsman Lew Ruggiero feel about having to do Johnny-on-the-spot monsoon stories?

A: That ugly old fart feels like he's still getting a paycheck. That's how he feels.

Q: Fox 10 hottie weekend cub reporter Miguel Marquez did his Johnny-on-the-spot from under an overhang behind the Fox 10 studio. He kept pointing at a puddle in his parking lot and exclaiming that it was "absolutely incredible!" Then a bolt of lightning hit a block away and it looked as though he peed his pants. Did he?

A: Aggressive war correspondents like Miguel don't "pee their pants," they "become part of the story." And if you are intimating that Miguel is a lazy wuss, you should know that Dan Rather covered all of Vietnam from the Jungle Room of Manhattan's premier martini bar, The Hanoi Hideaway.

Q: Many attractive reporters got extremely wet during Sunday's coverage of the storm. Shouldn't they have been wearing sheer white tee shirts?

A: Those are the kind of fresh ideas that keep television news relevant to modern viewers! You're hired!

Q: How can local weathermen screw up so badly on predicting the temperature in a state where the temperature is always the same? Isn't there some sort of license you people should have revoked?

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