Heyl: Joe said it would ... be great if we cooled it
By Eric Heyl
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
As soon as the dire predictions began that the polar vortex would trigger plunging temperatures, Joe DeNardo began getting calls.
It doesn't matter that the iconic former WTAE-TV forecaster has been retired for nearly a decade. When a worrisome weather situation arises, family members, friends and former colleagues seek him out.
“I can always tell when the weather is going to turn bad,” DeNardo said, chuckling in his familiar strong, booming voice. “The phone starts ringing here at the house.”
With much of the nation only now beginning to emerge from some of the coldest temperatures in two decades, DeNardo, 83, of Moon has spent considerable time on the phone during the past few days. He doesn't mind. Forecasting remains in his blood.
“My problem is I have macular degeneration. I can magnify things on the computer, but it's still difficult,” he said. “But when people call, they expect me to give them an answer. I have to give them something.”
DeNardo gave viewers plenty for 35 years at WTAE, after spending the previous 10 years at KDKA-TV. His accuracy and longevity made him one of the most recognizable people in regional broadcasting, as did the popular “Joe Said It Would” commercial campaign during the 1990s.
In DeNardo's heyday, the polar vortex, credited with causing temperatures in Pittsburgh to plummet to a record-low 9 degrees below zero early Tuesday, wasn't part of the meteorological parlance.
“I heard, ‘polar vortex' and I thought, ‘My goodness; what is that?' ” DeNardo said. “All of a sudden, I figured it out. It's just the low pressure center that hangs over the North Pole.”
DeNardo didn't want to appear curmudgeonly, but he clearly is no fan of modern-day meteorologist theatrics.
“It's overhyped. In my humble opinion, they try to scare the heck out of people,” he said. “It's done to attract viewers, and it helps the supermarkets sell milk and toilet paper, but not every storm is Armageddon.”
For those panicky over the prospect of additional polar vortices plaguing us until spring finally arrives, DeNardo said people should be aware that winter weather does indeed present occasional dangers.
But they should remember that cold and snow typically are integral ingredients of winter.
“Calm down and deal with it,” he said.
It's regrettable that DeNardo will remain retired. Offering such common-sense advice, he'd be a welcome counter to most of today's forecasters, whose delivery is remarkably easy to predict.
You know: Mostly sensationalistic, with a 90 percent chance of histrionics.
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 4 dead in ‘horrific’ Armstrong County crash
- Kovacevic: Bylsma’s moves — yes, moves — pay off
- Group wants Consol to adhere to terms of Greene County mining permit
- U.S. attorney seeks plan for reducing heroin overdoses
- Police see no sign Franklin Regional stabbing suspect was bullied
- Nine state universities challenged over athletic opportunites for women
- Falcon band performs at Disney World
- Penguins rally to escape with a victory in Game 1 against Columbus
- Authorities investigating skeletal remains found in Ohio River in Avalon
- Bishop Zubik urges Catholics to evangelize
- Good Friday, Easter Sunday programs planned in Scottdale