Avoiding over-reaction by any means necessary: NYTimes

Evidently the media adults in the room — excluding The Weather Channel – are going out of their way to underplay the big winter storm hitting the East Coast this weekend. The Times and the Post are not putting it on top of the front page and are avoiding calling it by TWC's name. Meteorological services too are emphasizing the caveats. Not to mention complaining about the The Weather Channel's exploitation. 

Said the Atlantic Wire:

AccuWeather and other services don't play along with the new name game, says [senior meteorologist Tom] Kines, because the practice "confuses people." Unlike a hurricane, which affects everything in its path, a winter storm's wrath doesn't have the same certain doom. "The National Weather Service does not name winter storms because 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," National Weather Service spokesperson Susan Buchanan told The Wire.

But when does avoiding panic become an over-reaction itself? Maybe when a newspaper sets out to remind us of how it compares to a blizzard from the 19th century. Even if it is the Great Blizzard of 1888

If this is the worst winter storm in 125 years, isn't it pretty serious? 


[pic from NYC, before Nemo arrives, via Stormgram at NBC] 

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

4 thoughts on “Avoiding over-reaction by any means necessary: NYTimes

  1. This is why I’m watching the Weather Channel with their crazy outdoor correspondents being punked by even crazier onlookers. Who needs adults in the room when we can see what’s going on for ourselves? It’s pretty interesting.


  2. A good reason to name them is because of snomageddon and snopocalypse having already been used up. Plus aren’t a lot of the current complainers people who had no problem with those terms?


  3. Oops, made that first point in the previous post. I’ll add that IMO the passage you quoted in response seems like thin stuff. Also, of course the naming business can’t really catch on as long as it’s a private outfit doing it; the NWS would have to agree to do it.

    I’ll add the more general point that we need to let public safety concerns rather than weather nerds rule when it comes to this stuff. The NWS “downgrade” of Sandy just before landfall, and the failure to issue hurricane warnings in the affected area in anticipation of the downgrade, resulted in loss of life. A similar issue comes up when very large hurricanes or tropical storms (interestingly getting more common recently, although no one seems to have come up with a good reason why) lose strength when approaching land and are downgraded even though their size ensures that their storm surges lose no punch.


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