TWC Winter Storm Naming "Will Mislead Public"

By Jillian MacMath, Staff Writer
October 7, 2012; 4:36 AM ET
Share |

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.

Twitter Reacts: TWC's Plan to Name Winter Storms Stirs Industry Discussion
Weather Channel's Plan to Name Snowstorms Gets Cold Reception

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
"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.


Comments left here should adhere to the Community Guidelines. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News

  • East Late-Summer Heat to Continue This Week

    September 1, 2014; 9:10 PM ET

    The late-season swelter will continue along much of the Atlantic Seaboard through the week as tens of millions head back to school and work.

Daily U.S. Extremes

past 24 hours

  Extreme Location
High N/A
Low N/A
Precip N/A


This Day In Weather History

Milwaukee, WI (1988)
Hottest summer on record. Six days of 100 degrees or greater and 36 days of 90 or above. Average temperature of 73.8 beat the old record of 72.8 set in 1921 and 1955. The normal average tempera- ture for a summer in Milwaukee is 68.3 degrees.

Washington Co., IA (1897)
Hail fell and drifted in piles 6 feet deep in Washington County.

Yuma, AZ (1950)
123 degrees - hottest temperature ever in Yuma. Yuma is the hottest city in the U.S.