The Weather Channel decided to name the Big New England Blizzard as part of a policy they previously announced. They say they will give names to winter storms so that you and I can follow them more easily. We apparently need snazzy, memorable names to do that, because apparently keeping track of major news of major storms along major swaths of America is too difficult for dimwits like us.
So commercializing the weather will fix all that. Just like commercializing the news allowed us all to be so much more informed by outlets with absolutely no bias whatsoever.
As you can see from the screen grab above, some meteorologists aren’t exactly thrilled, so they started a Facebook page, “STOP the Weather Channel from naming winter storms.”
Per the L.A. Times hard copy (this information has since been scrubbed from the online version), Thomas Downs, a meteorologist with Weather 2000, a New York-based forecasting and consulting firm, “speculates that because the Weather Channel is owned by NBCUniversal, stations owned by that company will be the most enthusiastic about using the names.” I can picture it now:
NBCU: Weeee! We get to use totes adorbs names! Weeee! Higher ratings! Weeee! We’re enthusiastic!
George Wright, a meteorologist and the founder of Wright Weather Consulting in New York, made this point in an interview with The Times: “A hurricane is something that’s more unusual and devastating. If you start naming other storms, people will suddenly think this might be a hurricane.”
Joel Meyer, founder and president of AccuWeather, a Weather Channel competitor, issued a statement this fall blasting the Weather Channel for its decision.
“In unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, the Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety.”
Of course, the Weather Channel would never decide to start naming storms just to draw more viewers to their site. That would be self-serving and give their detractors more fodder for criticism:
The Weather Channel decided to start naming storms after it coined a 2011 event Snowtober, a name that got picked up on Twitter and in media outlets and drew more viewers to the site.
Well, at least they’re giving a great deal of thought to the choice of names so as to maintain a modicum of real gravitas:
[Brian Norcross, senior executive director of weather content and presentation at the Weather Channel] supervised the creation of this year’s list of winter storm names, which also include Draco, Gandolf and Walda. While the Weather Channel first looked at using baby names from the early 20th century, it eventually settled on names of gods from Norse and other mythologies. Jorel, the father of Superman, nearly made the list, but was swapped out at the last minute for Jove.
Cartman is still waiting in the wings.