Sunday, February 10, 2013

To Name, or not to Name

There's an interesting battle taking place among meteorologists...of all people. These folks, some of whom are actual scientists and others who are television weather-people who call themselves meteorologists, are in a fight over whether to name winter storms like they do hurricanes.

By now, we're all familiar with the thing called Nemo that dropped some three feet of snow and/or ice, depending on the locale, on New England. Actually, the Nemo moniker doesn't come from any official governmental body or agency, it comes from the promotion-minded folks at The Weather Channel. And, many other people who make their living predicting the weather are not at all happy about it.

The Weather Channel decided to start naming winter storms late in 2012 feeling that it would give their viewers an easier time following the developments associated with the named system. Here's a short video they produced to explain their decision.

I'm reading that National Weather Service executives and other weather companies believe it to be a stunt and actually more confusing to the Average Joe. They say that hurricanes, and only hurricanes, should be named so that people don't confuse winter storms with the more potentially devastating effects of a hurricane.

Since The Weather Channel is owned by NBCUniversal, and since they also own the NBC network and provide programming to a sizable number of television stations across the country, it's likely that the policy will be embraced by those entities. It's also just as likely that any station or service not owned by or affiliated with NBCUniversal will dig in their heels against the naming policy. So much like the on-going stalemates on policy in Washington, it looks like this battle will be around for a while.

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