TWC Winter Storm Naming "Will Mislead Public"

By Jillian MacMath, Staff Writer
October 10, 2012, 9:49:08 AM EDT

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
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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.

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