Wow, it is January and snow is finally on the ground. Pretty unusual for our area for late snow arrival. I know some places in the east really got blasted with winter storm Jonas with snow and ice. Winds are the main problem, Buffalo knows that well. Hope residents in those locations remain safe and warm.
Why did they start naming snow storms?
Every weather phenomena now gets a name, a ploy to get major national attention I guess. A novel idea for advertising for the Weather Channel. Yes, it is the only TV station in the United States that uses these names, insuring that you tune in to their coverage. Remember snowmadgeddon, the snow-pocalypse in 2010? The mid-Atlantic states got dumped on. Blizzard, category 3 storms like that become part of local legend and are not the invention of the Weather Channel.
We in the Buffalo area are pretty adept at coming up with clever names, like the Blizzard of 77, the October Surprise, and Snowvember. Even if we are basking in summer, Buffalonians know that winter is right around the corner and can’t wait for the national attention of their snow storms.
In fact, sometimes Buffalo media even makes a few innocent jokes at other weather media around the country who are exaggerating storms by using words like “historic,” “epic,” “significant” and “record-breaking” when on occasion, they are reporting just less than an inch of snow. It is sensationalized weather. Next post, see the weather at Niagara Falls. It is a post with images that will make you shiver. Yes, we know winter and love it!
The Weather Channel names winter storms where lots of people live and it becomes a ratings jackpot for them. The Buffalo region has the population to attract too. Other weather outlets are not so complimentary of this idea to name snow storms.
“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.
Kinda makes sense from that perspective. In fact, the National Weather Service has no plans to consider the naming of winter storms. When the Weather Channel named its first storm three years ago, Athena, the National Weather Service issued a press release stating it would not recognize any of The Weather Channel’s names for winter storms.
I suppose the weather groups and media could reach some sort of compromise, but it gets awfully confusing having all these storm names.
A name might afford the weather system a personality, but does it raise awareness? And does it have much social media benefit? It does become confusing because snow storms are erratic, often short-lived and don’t always show up even a few miles apart from each other. Snow enveloping Buffalo often does not even make a whimper here. New storm patterns pop up in the same location sometimes, crisscrossing paths, but arriving from different directions. That makes naming storms a bit odd. What do they name them when we get that orgy of storms?
Watching the flakes fall, I started thinking about all those vacant bluebird boxes at my nature walk/birding haunts. Only a few more months and the bluebirds return.
Many ask if bluebirds go south for winter? Some stay in our area in forests, but most head south to return in spring. Makes sense when you figure how harsh winters can be in our area.
The little bluebirds in this post fill those snow-covered boxes come spring. We just have to wait until those named storms pass. Now, we settle for cardinals. Not a bad option either.