HOT SHEET: Winter squall alert recalls Weather Beacon glories; Trump’s idea of a merry Christmas

Monday, Oct. 19, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: At about 11:45 a.m., the National Weather Service in Johnston sent out a warning of a “snow squall” in central Iowa. The bureau predicted hazardous driving conditions for the next hour — as if we needed another damn reason not to leave the house in 2020.

ITEM TWO: The National Weather Service’s warning did not tell us whether or not a tauntaun would freeze before it reached the first marker, but Capt. Han Solo of the Rebel Alliance still went out looking for the missing Rebel Com. Luke Skywalker.

ITEM THREE: All this weather talk reminds the ol’ Paragraph Stacker of two of the capital city’s great and sadly gone weather icons: KCCI-TV weather watcher Connie McBurney, who is retired to New Mexico, and the old KCCI Weather Beacon.

McBurney used to give away a weather radio to the viewer whose guess came closest to the first measurable snowfall of the year.

The Weather Beacon had a famous jingle:

Weather beacon red

Warmer weather ahead.

Weather beacon white

Colder weather in sight.

Weather beacon green,

No change is foreseen.

Weather beacon flashing night or day

Precipitation is on the way.

The Weather Beacon did not have settings for “squall,” “thundersnow” or “derecho.”

ITEM FIVE: As a reminder for the sake of everyone out there, even though the metro is seeing snow today and forecasters predict a high of 75 degrees on Thursday, saying “If you don’t like the weather in Iowa, wait 5 minutes” still makes you a complete fucking bore. Be safe.

ITEM LAST: In a Carson City, Nevada, campaign stop, President Donald Trump noted that everyone is saying “merry Christmas” again thanks to his huge, beautiful effort to restore something that never went away.

The president speaks some truth: The typist will be saying “merry Christmas” to Parents 2.0, both age 71, by a Zoom call thanks to the president’s spectacular handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

See also: “Happy Halloween,” “happy Thanksgiving” and “happy New Year.”

Daniel P. Finney is now a downloadable player on Final Fantasy VII as a troll who keeps saying, “If it’s a ‘Final Fantasy’ how can there be seven of them?” is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit

1 Comment

  1. Kris says:

    Loved both Connie McBurney and the weather beacon. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!


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