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Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The Weather Channel’s idea of naming Winter Storms gets a cold shoulder
As I posted on my Facebook weather page yesterday, The Weather Channel (TWC) will be naming Winter Storms this upcoming season. Now while the idea might sound good in theory ; the way they implemented it was wrong. Instead of taking the proposal to NOAA or the American Meteorological Society (AMS) , where it could have been looked at and considered. The management at the TWC decided to do it unilaterally. The lack of coordination between TWC and the rest of the meteorological community, has caused a lot of controversy. TWC give these reasons for rolling out this plan.
1) Naming a storm raises the public’s awareness.
2) Attaching a name makes it easier to follow a weather system’s progress.
3) A storm with a name takes on a personality all it’s own, which adds to Awareness.
4) In today’s social media world, a name makes it much easier to reference in communication.
5) A named storm is easier to remember and refer to in the future.
This all sounds good on paper, some of it might even have merit. However, there have been no studies done, that show the lack of naming Winter Storms leads to less awareness. So I guess we have to take TWC word for it.
I feel this idea is based more on market share and ratings, than it is about rising awareness of major snowstorms. TWC will force the entire meteorological community to bow to the inevitable. In other words, this will cause everyone to adopt the naming system This kind of branding idea is not new, in fact every local station across the country does it . The stations roll out all of their fancy graphics and flashy radar images, in an effort to make you think, they’re the only place to get weather coverage. So from a marketing standpoint TWC idea of naming storms is a work of genius. Because, if TV stations, the NWS , and even social media sites like mine don’t follow along, there will be confusion on which storm everyone is talking about. So even if we don’t like the Idea of naming Winter Storms, we will be forced to do so anyway.
As I pointed out yesterday on my weather page; they’ve been naming winter storms in Europe since the 50’s. The news media has been naming some storms here in the States as well, “Snowmageddon” is just one example. By taking this move, TWC has forced everyone to play along. I don’t feel that the lack of naming Winter Storms has caused a lack of awareness among the general public. But I do have to tip my hat to TWC, you’ve kicked the NWS out of the drivers seat, now you can drive and set the winter weather agenda. I just have this to say to TWC…remember, if a storm doesn’t live up to the hype, your neck is on the proverbial chopping block.
Here are the names that TWC will be using for the Winter of 2012 – 2013. These names don’t seem memorable to me, but then that is just my opinion
Well that all folks, I will be coming out with my final winter of 2012 –13 outlook in a few weeks.