I don't know whether we have become a soft nation, or we're caught up in labels, or it's competition, but it is getting ridiculous.

Whatever happened to snowstorms, thunderstorms, or just good, old-fashioned snow and rain?

The Omaha-based television stations have starting making "events" out of every weather situation.

The other day it snowed about 1 to 2 inches here. One of the channels called it "The Weather Authority Alert Day."

Alert Day? When I was growing up, do you know what they called 1 to 2 inches of snow? Snow. And we were happy that's all we got.

No one was on alert. No one cared. It was just an inch or two. The kind of snow that even those who despise shoveling their walks and driveway, just shrug at.

I have heard stations call days with inclement weather as "events."

It is just weather.

Sure, sometimes Mother Nature can get ticked off, and we suffer through tsunamis, blizzards or flooding.

I imagine those who lived through any of those "weather events" would say they should be alerted to extremely bad weather.

A couple inches of snow; is that even worth mentioning?

The station that issued "The Weather Authority Alert Day" was claiming that the snow would be treacherous because it was supposed to fall during morning rush hour.

Of course, when it rains or snows caution is needed, and not enough people follow the belief that you drive for the conditions.

My point is this: It's Nebraska in February. Everyone should expect snow. This isn't the white stuff coming down in Texas or Arizona, where they normally only see snow on postcards or television and people have no idea how to drive in it.

People in Nebraska know about snow. They have just cussed the heavens because they had to scrape their windows, warm up their vehicles and drive through the mountain of snow the plows piled up at the end of their driveways. If they do not know they need to be cautious because the roads may be slick, take their license away from them.

It used to be the weatherman was thought of just slightly ahead of the sports guys in the pecking order of your local station.

They were weathermen. Their biggest asset was that they could point to different places on the map.

Then they became meteorologists. They were certified to guess at the weather.

Weathermen became even smarter and even more important when stations started using the Doppler radar system.

It was supposed to take the guessing out of predicting the weather, making weathermen more accurate.

I still have heard weathermen say that predicting the weather can be a crapshoot at best.

The weather has become more prominent in local broadcasts while the local sports guys have changed their assignments to focusing largely on the local and state sports, reducing the national coverage because they cannot compete with ESPN.

I wouldn't be so annoyed by the weather if stations did not overreact.

I don't need to have half of my television screen taken up by weather graphics or a scroll that tells me it is snowing or raining hundreds of miles away. If they can develop all this technology to forecast the weather, they ought to be able to target these messages for those impacted.

Weather is not an "event" or an "alert day" until there are real emergencies, or at least not until normal life is interrupted.

That does not include 1 to 2 inches of snow.

Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.