What's in a name?
Thu, 08 Nov 2012 22:47:33 GMT —
Over the years it has been said that the naming of hurricanes has saved lives and property, so will the same be said for naming Winter storms?
That's the question being debated by weather-casters across the country after
The Weather Channel
announced their plans to start naming Winter storms.
At first glance, some may call this a clever gimmick by "The Weather Authority" from their "Storm Desk" at "Winter Storm Central" or is that "Winter Storm Headquarters?" However, I say this is one idea that just may stick across all platforms of forecasting, no matter what
The National Weather Service
has to say.
The idea of naming hurricanes has been globally adopted since around 1950 with well accepted reasoning. According to
The National Weather Service website
, the reasoning behind naming hurricanes is simple and best stated in this short paragraph. "Experience shows that the use of short, distinctive names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and less subject to error than the older, more cumbersome latitude-longitude identification methods. These advantages are especially important in exchanging detailed storm information between hundreds of widely scattered stations, coastal bases, and ships at sea. "
The Weather Channel
has introduced a very similar criteria and seasoning for their plan to "name" winter storms that meet those "standards or benchmarks" that they have, themselves created. "The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation." Bryan Norcross of The Weather Channel.
Now enters in the opinion of The National Weather Service, who seem to be widely ignoring the effort by The Weather Channel. The National Weather Service is known to media outlets as "the authority" on weather, well, on severe weather. That is, The National Weather Service is tasked with the responsibility of being the sole issuing body for "Severe Weather Statements" such as "tornado warnings" and "winter storm watches."
An interesting side note for anyone who says, "How dare they name it that ..." to The Weather Channel. In 1953, the United States began using female names for hurricanes ... only female names. Then in 1978, men's and women's names were included for the first time in storm list.
As a thirteen year veteran of broadcasting local weather on several platforms, I see the value in this effort by The Weather Channel. When a hurricane is named, the entire country pays attention, be it a weak category one or a super storm category five. Would the upper Midwest and Great Plains not benefit as well from the national attention and awareness that a name would lend a deadly winter storm? Let's try it out, which grabs your attentions and makes you pay attention more. In the evening forecast, your local anchor says, "A winter storm is set to move into the region." or "Winter storm Brutus is set to move into the region." I bet the latter of the two examples caught your attention and would surely have been said with more gusto from Windy Wilson, your local weather anchor.
The debate will be interesting, as for now, this is one weather anchor who will be chomping at the bit to introduce local viewers to winter storm