#RejectedTWCNames: Storm Brewing Over Weather Channel Name Game
On the heels of The Weather Channel announcement it will name winter storms, AccuWeather denounces the decision, saying TWC move will only cause public confusion.
Now that The Weather Channel has announced it's plan to assign names to winter storms for the first time in history, storm clouds are gathering from within the weather prognostication community.
In particular, from weather reporting rival, AccuWeather.
"In unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, The Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety and is doing a disservice to the field of meteorology and public service,” said Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather Founder and President in a published statement. Myers pointed to a statement made by The Weather Channel’s spokesman, saying that storms affecting many people would get names and that those affecting few people would not be named, highlighting the arbitrary nature of the unpublished criteria.
“We have explored this issue for 20 years,” Myers said, “and have found that this is not good science and importantly will actually mislead the public. Winter storms are very different from hurricanes.”
A statement issued by the National Weather Service simply read:
"The National Weather Service has no opinion about private weather
enterprise products and services. A winter storm's impact can vary
from one location to another, and storms can weaken and redevelop,
making it difficult to define where one ends and another begins. While the National Weather Service does not name winter storms, we do rate major winter storms after the fact."
To get past the sturm und drang of dueling press releases, Nashua Patch reached out to Dr. Sam Miller, an associate professor of meteorology at Plymouth State College, which boasts one of the Top 10 meteorology programs in the country, and the state's only undergrad and graduate degree meteorology program.
Miller said that he was mostly just startled by the announcement of winter storm names, since it's never been done before.
For the record, he doesn't see how naming a snow storm would have any benefit – or do any harm.
"It's just that the physics at work is quite different from what's going on with a tropical storm – they tend to be much larger in area and, in some cases, difficult to figure out where one ends and another begins," Miller said. "A winter storm, or to be accurate, a mid-latitude cyclone, can cover half the country."
Miller added that, with an appropriate set of rules in place, it might be possible to figure out how to "draw a box around a storm track," and name it, but he isn't convinced it will make much difference to the public one way or another.
"I grew up in Connecticut, and I can look back on my own experience and talk about the 'Blizzard of 1978' because it caved in the Hartford Civic Center. We didn't forget that one. I suppose if we had give them names, like Katrina, everyone would know which storm we mean."
Meanwhile, you can amuse yourself over the brewing controversy on Twitter by searching for #RejectedTWCNames, which we noticed included gems like: "Winter Storm Yoda - prepare or prepare not; there is no try," posted by Rick Smith @ounwcm; and "Winter Storm Manning, breakes records in Indy but slowly faded away in Denver," posted by Chase Johnson @EyesOnThaPrize.
We've uploaded a few more #RejectedTWCNames screen shots here for your browsing pleasure.