The announcement yesterday that The Weather Channel has decided to begin naming winter storms this coming season sure has gotten a lot of reaction by the public and within the weather forecasting/communication community. Here were my thoughts and others as today's post by the Capital Weather Gang. The Weather Channel's Bryan Norcross who is a terrific meteorologist and communicator explained in this interview that "social media" was part of the driver in this decision. I agree with Nate Johnson at WRAL-TV that within a few years, the naming of winter storms in the United States, before they hit, will become widely accepted. My criticism of TWC decision was the complete lack of coordination or involvement with the broad meteorological and weather warning and communication community before what I called their "preemptive" decision. Many of us have worked on ways to better communicate forecasts, especially risk and dangerous weather, for the best weather decision by the public. But change is sure a challenge. Here is one example. My friend Eliot Abrams with AccuWeather proposed, what I think is a great idea, of maintaining tropical storm names if they are still producing flooding rains even when winds have decreased.
Thus "Tropical Storm Bob" would still be "Tropical Rainstorm Bob" after it was well inland and the Tropical Prediction Center stopped tracking the storm. Good idea for better communication and one of the examples I gave at a recent conference. You can watch the entire presentation here if you really can't get to sleep. I also used TWC's Dr. Greg Forbes "TOR:CON" as a good idea that might be accepted. Anyway I also put up a poll to see what our viewers and visitors to our weather homepage thought of the idea.
As you can see, at best, mixed results. So changing how we communicate weather and use new wording to communicate weather is a challenge. A challenge we all face. But learning from each other, pushing NWS to adopt some new best practices from the weather communication side, so we all head in the same direction I think is a better path than taking on a 500 pound gorilla with one arm tied behind our back.