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January 10th, 2013

My tweets

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Naming Storms For Fun and Profit

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

nbsp;          I was puzzled about why the government started naming winter storms, until I realized it isn’t: The Weather Channel is.

nbsp;          The Weather Channel – it could be some people don’t know this – is a private company, not a government agency. The Weather Channelers looked at named tropical storms and said, hey: Shouldn’t winter storms be named, too?

nbsp;          No. No, they shouldn’t.

nbsp;          Oh, I understand their argument: Names help raise awareness, make storms easier to track, easier to follow on social media …

nbsp;          Easier to get big ratings.

nbsp;          In the 1940’s the National Weather Service began naming tropical storms, and ever since then they’ve become almost living entities. In 1900, a hurricane killed at least 8,000 people in the Galveston, Texas area, the deadliest US weather disaster ever, but who talks about it? No, they talk about Hazel in ’54, or Camille, Hugo, Andrew, or of course Katrina.          

Yes, winter storms can be just as bad, and even more widespread, and maybe we in the northern climates should be jealous that our cousins along the coast get more attention. But they don’t have that defined shape (winter storms that is, not our cousins along the coast). When deciding whether they get a name, TWC has been reduced to generalities that make me think the final choice comes down to flipping a coin, or maybe a snow angel competition. The criteria:Collapse )

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