Heather Greene

freelance writer, editor, journalist, author

The Naming of the Storm

I recently wrote about the media branding of moon phases. Another similar phenomenon, one that I have personally enjoyed, is the dramatic branding of weather, specifically storms. My neighbors at The Weather Channel (TWC) never fail to provide something new and exciting.

512px-storm_clouds

For example, the industry recently started naming winter storms. “Winter Storm Popeye is causing a white out in Boston. Let’s check in with Jim. Are you there? We can’t see you.”

Naturalists teach humans not to name things. If you name something, you develop an affinity for it and an emotional attachment. You want to make it your own – keep it, love it, and dress it up in ugly Christmas sweaters.

“Mom, can we keep this tornado? Pretty please! I’ll rebuild the house every day, I promise.”

With that consideration, I do strongly advise against the naming of storms. However, who am I to buck the trend, so I tried naming our local thunderstorms, but got bored of the idea after I ran through the entire alphabet in April.

Why don’t sunny days get named? “Sunny Day Paula is lingering around Georgia today, forcing many locals to move outdoors, abandoning their rokus and iPads. Jim is live and on the scene with more.”

That seems more like news to me.

Did you know when a storm hits the radars, there is a war cry across the TWC meteorology floor: “We have a storm!” Junior meteorologists rush from bathrooms and break rooms to person their battle stations.

I have always wondered if it got confusing when the storm was given the same name as one of the meteorologists.

“Has anyone seen Andre? Has he arrived yet?”

“No he’s not here yet.”

“Is he in Cuba?”

“No he’s probably stuck on I-75”

Right now, my favorite phrase is the “cone of uncertainty.” It was just announced that the entire southeast is the dreaded…

Cone of Uncertainty.

At first you panic, “oh sh*&%!” With the election so close, this phrase could mean anything. Blue. Red. Blue. Red.

The Cone of Uncertainty (I just want to say this with a mega phone and deep long echo.)

Given that these cone reports only come from TWC, we know they must be weather related. The cone describes a nifty little triangular drawing on a weather map. They aren’t actually cones but more swooshes without the Nike curl back, unless the storm is particular creative, in which case it should be named appropriately.

Tropical Storm Pablo would work nicely.

I wonder if the cone will eventually get a name. I vote for using horror character names. “Cone Dracula is over the entire southeast sucking dry any hopes of tailgating or playing golf.”

In the end, these names don’t really matter. Larry, Darryl or Darryl…Unlike humans, storms don’t care if they are loved, cherished, or respected for their individuality. It is just a storm and it has no bias. These branding names are just for us and created by us and, ironically, many of these storms are too.

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This entry was posted on October 6, 2016 by in Non Sequiturs.
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