October 5, 2012
Criticism of The Weather Channel's criteria to name winter storms continued Thursday, when The Weather Channel did not name a winter storm, which was blasting Minnesota and North Dakota, "Athena".
The Weather Channel announced Tuesday that they plan to begin naming "noteworthy" winter storms in the 2012-2013 season.
The decision has led to an outpouring of comments and criticism on the web, and particularly on social media outlets.
After reviewing The Weather Channel's release in its entirety and taking into account all factors, Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather Founder and President, released the following statement:
"In unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, The Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety. We have explored this issue for 20 years and have found that this is not good science and will mislead the public. Winter storms are very different from hurricanes.
Hurricanes are well-defined storms following a path that can be tracked. Winter storms are often erratic, affecting different areas unevenly. Their centers may not be well-defined. There may be multiple centers and they often shift. One area may get a blizzard, while places not too far away may experience rain or fog, or nothing at all. Naming a winter storm that may deliver such varied weather will create more confusion in the public and the emergency management community."
Other prominent industry agencies and professionals have begun weighing in on the issue, as well:
Official release from the National Weather Service:
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.
Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society, Keith Seitter to AccuWeather.com:
"The short answer is we weren't aware of this at all. At least, I wasn't aware of this at all. I'm not sure if anyone else was. I didn't hear anything about it before I saw the news item on the weather channel naming winter storms," said Keith Seitter. "....Given that, certainly, the AMS as an organization doesn't have a position on this at all.
Meteorologist James Spann via Twitter:
"Needs to be coordinated with NWS and other private sector interests for sure."
Thumbnail image was tweeted by @PigsPutnam on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.
The second half of the week looks to be noticeably cooler and less humid in the Chicago area.
A cold front pushing through the Southeast will bring the risk of severe weather to part of the region Thursday.
After temperatures briefly climb to typical midsummer levels, another cooldown will roll into the Midwest and expand to the East for the last part of July.
Tropical Depression Two has lost its battle to become the next Atlantic tropical storm, but it will still increase shower activity across the Caribbean to end the week.
Severe thunderstorms that blasted areas of Arkansas with damaging winds and heavy rainfall will continue to race through eastern Texas.
A potent storm system moving out of the Northwest United States will bring an elevated risk of tornadoes to parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan on Thursday.
New York (1975)
Severe thunderstorms in western and central NY: lightning struck a city park in Rochester injuring 12 children, all were playing on a metal jungle gym. One patrolman described the scene as if "someone threw a stick of dynamite in the middle of the crowd and it blew."
Southeastern MA (1990)
Torrential rains: Middleboro 7.20" Bridgewater 5.00" Tauton 4.33" Abington 3.05" Cars were stranded in high water in Fall River, MA.
Phoenix, AZ (1992)
Between 4" and 6" of rain fell in locally heavy downpours.