New Mexico is finally noticed on the weather map

On the morning of New Year’s Eve, the national weather map had the words ‘Santa Fe,” “Albuquerque,” “Roswell” and “Silver City” in big print.  Most of New Mexico was a glaring shade of pink indicating the predicted snowstorm.  This was on one of the national morning TV shows.

A few days earlier, the map on a different station had a big white blob over New Mexico. The word “Albuquerque”  was prominent.  The weather forecaster talked about blizzard warnings for Albuquerque. She seemed excited about this, as if Albuquerque were a new discovery. Maybe she had never spoken this exotic word before.

Indeed, the weather that day was rough.  We get those days from time to time, but not often. In any case, this column is not about the weather.  It’s about the map.

In national recognition or the lack of it, New Mexico takes a lot of abuse. We all know the running joke that “One of our 50 is missing,” the title of a feature in New Mexico Magazine that’s still running after decades.

Years ago I noticed that those weather forecasters usually stood in front of the map, blocking the view of New Mexico. If they mentioned the Southwest at all, they referred to California and Texas and avoided the subject of what might lie between.

This has changed.

In my completely unscientific observation of weather maps on morning television, I noticed the shift several years ago. Some viewers might credit this to “Breaking Bad,” but I believe it started earlier, after Bill Richardson ran for president.

Richardson was in the national spotlight long enough for viewers to notice that the term “governor of New Mexico” referred to a state.  I don’t remember anyone asking him how the governor of a foreign country could be running for president of the US. In the long-running battle for New Mexico, this was progress.

Then Gary Johnson ran for president.  Again, the term “governor of New Mexico” was forced on the recalcitrant national media.

In 2014, New Mexico was featured as a whole category of clues on the TV show “Jeopardy.” We do well on this TV show.  Last May author Anne Hillerman was a “Jeopardy” clue.   There have been clues  featuring Georgia O’Keefe, sculptor Evelyn Rosenberg, and a number of our state’s  natural wonders.

Recently we’ve had Chevel Shepherd, winner on “The Voice,” and a newly elected New Mexico member of Congress, Deb Haaland, featured on every TV talk show because she’s broken barriers as a Native American woman.

A few weeks before our snowstorm, I had turned on that same morning TV show. The hosts were in a dither because New York and much of the mid-Atlantic were having a really bad snowstorm for which they had not been prepared. Apparently the weather forecasters had made a mistake.

I looked out the window at the sunny morning, anticipating a December day that would reach above 50 degrees,  and realized that half the population of the East Coast would be thrilled to trade places with me at that moment. I thought, what if some new Mexico marketing entity could arrange to insert a live, real time New Mexico weather report as a commercial in that morning show, with one of our handsome weathermen simply reciting the forecast of sun and more sun. New Mexico should pay for that.

Even though we’ve had some cold days and a snowstorm, most of us can agree New Mexico’s weather is generally terrific.

In the 2018 legislative session a group got an appropriation to develop a marketing plan to attract retirees to New Mexico.  The plan by this group, Retire New Mexico, is now in the works. I suggested this strategy to one of them, though I think I skipped the part about the handsome weathermen.  I’m repeating the idea here for anyone who wants to take advantage of it.

Maybe this column is about the weather after all. Happy New Year.

Triple Spaced Again, © New Mexico News Services 2018

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