September 26, 2006

Weather signals and storms

Weather stories like the ones on crime are often manhandled by the reporters and the editors. In most cases, most signals come to be printed as cautionary signals, as 'cautionary' sounds a bit serious than 'warning,' quite unware of the fact that there is a difference between a cautionary signal and a warning signal in weatherspeak. In one of the reports, the phrase distant cautionary signal 3 came out in print. The error was spotted the next day. There is nothing called distant cautionary signal 3. There are only two distant signals and the subsequent signals are local, for seaports. One of the reporters who visited the coast to cover the salvage efforts after the storm in the Bay of Bengal one day wrote: the local people said the wind blew clocking a speed of more than 200 kilometres an hour which should not have been flagged with local cautionary signal 3. We could not check if the Met Office had measured wind speed. But a wind speed above 75 is considered hurricane force which, in Bangladesh, occurs in cyclones and tornadoes. The second most deadliest cyclone in Bangladesh was the 1991 cyclone, when the highest wind speed was measured at 260 kilometres an hour. The damage caused by the cyclone was estimated to be $1.5 billion and about 1,38,000 people died in the cyclone. The most deadliest, 1970 Bhola cyclone, which killed about 5,000,000 people, had a wind force of an estimated 190 kilometres an hour.

September 16, 2006

Lazurus, come from the dead

A crime report on a warrant asking some policemen to appear in court to give deposition in a murder case that landed on the news desk went logical up to several paragraphs. Just in the middle of the story, a paragraph quoted the man, who was killed seven years ago allegedly by the police, narrating what had happened just before he was killed. Interesting! He was no 'Lazurus, come from the dead,/ Come back to tell you all, ...' It made one of the editors, who rewrote the story, laugh heartily. The information was written in the first information report, he said.