For all of its A-plus, life-saving urgency in backing up evacuation efforts, TV news still can't bring itself to even ask the question.
I was in charge of CNN's Weather Department for five years, including the mind-boggling mid-2000's when Katrina was far from the only Atlantic coast catastrophe.
I've watched less and less of CNN and its cable competitors in recent years, despite the fact that turning 60 years old makes me a demographically-typical viewer.
With the twin horrors of Harvey and Irma raking the Texas Gulf coast, Caribbean and Florida, I've once again been immersed in following the drumbeat of storms and their aftermaths. I've found both great pride in how TV steps up to help save lives in advance of a major storm, and equal dismay in the utter silence about the potential links between extreme weather, severe storms and climate change.
Even if it's a little incongruous to be doing a live shot in thigh-deep water in a street intersection, declaring that emergency personnel are the only ones with any business being outside, TV reporters and meteorologists routinely play a heroic role when they chase potential viewers away from the couch and into the evacuation queue.
They help save lives.
When they cite the best-available projections on rainfall, flood risks, wind speeds and storm surge associated with a landfalling hurricane, they almost surely save even more lives. They're pros. They know what they're doing.
My former CNN colleague Chad Myers recently delivered a brilliant description of "reverse surge," where a hurricane's rotation causes a deceptive, potentially lethal drop in flooding levels.
So let's give an A-plus, a combat medal, a hearty thanks, for TV news living up to its most noble potential. But even if you're still in the isolated minority—relegated to Fox News viewers, the alt-right, and Cabinet or House Science Committee meetings—who believe it's the wrong time to utter the "C" word, you can't even raise the question of whether climate change may be forcing extreme weather into hyper-drive? Really? Not even a question? About something that, in the long run, has the potential to save far more lives?