Some days the Weather Channel really ticks me off. Those days are roughly November through March. That’s right, it’s time for my third annual rant on winter storm names!
Once again I had completely forgotten about this idiotic practice, until a couple of family members posted a link mentioning “Damon”. Apparently that’s what the Weather Channel decided to call this two-bit punk Nor’easter that dropped a foot of snow on us Wednesday. A foot. Seriously. I know in Georgia they’d call it the end of the world, and Maryland would shut down for two weeks, but here in Syracuse if a winter storm hits us with anything less than three feet in 24 hours, it gets laughed out of the friggin’ sky. A storm like that doesn’t rate a name. When a storm does rate a name, it gets a big menacing one like “The Blizzard of ’78″—not a name it’s likely to share with the kid who makes a few bucks shoveling up after it.
Here’s the part that irks the frell out of me: The Post Standard, our local paper, has outright given in on this. The link I saw was from them, referring to the storm as “Damon”. I knew the paper had gone steadily downhill in the past… er, my entire lifetime, but now they’ve simply crapped the bed. A Syracuse paper ought to be above this nonsense. They ought to be leading the charge to mock those snowphobic twits down in Atlanta for coming up with this concept two years ago. They ought to be running articles every year mocking the storm list, and in every story if they refer to the name at all they should do it in sarcasto-quotes and make our righteous disdain perfectly clear.
We all know the Weather Channel is doing this only for branding, nothing more. You know that, right? Sure, they claim it’s about better communication, getting things across more clearly, but that’s crap. They wanted to start the ball rolling and be the ones rolling it, because then it’s a feather in their cap. You know who names hurricanes? Actual official weather agencies. Nobody names snowstorms, except for some goofs in Europe who frankly ought to know better. (Really, guys? You have the freakin’ Alps and some places with darn cold winters, and you want to bother naming winter storms? Sissies.)
This year we have further stupidity: named storms still miss out on completely legitimate major events that would rate a name. The week before Thanksgiving, Buffalo got blasted by five feet of lake effect. Five feet in one day is a lot, even for Buffalo. Ralph Wilson stadium was so badly snowed in, the Bills had to hold their upcoming home game in Detroit. But did that storm get a name? Nope. The Weather Channel reported on it, but didn’t find it name-worthy, even though this is the exact kind of standard we should be using for whether a storm gets a name. When a barrage of lake effect hits Buffalo so bad that even they have trouble dealing with it, that’s when it matters.
The arguments in favor of naming these storms when they don’t deserve names are no more coherent than they ever were, but they’re undercut completely when the idiots pushing this crap don’t even think an actual significant event belongs on their list. Winter storms may be better organized than summer ones, but when they don’t do anything beyond throw down a bunch of typical weather, who gives a crap?