Wednesday, December 07, 2016


Wall Street Journal --

A U.S. Weather Tradition Takes the British Isles By Storm

... Storms have been named for centuries, but it wasn’t until 1953, when the National Hurricane Center in the U.S. started officially naming Atlantic tropical storms, that they were christened before making landfall. In the U.K. and Ireland, storms were named on an ad hoc basis until last year. A realization that something needed to change occurred in the 2013-14 season, when one particularly bad tempest was given upward of five names by various meteorological and media outlets across Europe, going by the aliases Simone, Carmen, Allan, the St. Jude Storm and Cyclone Christian. The incident pushed the Met Office and Met √Čireann to take ownership of the naming of storms that passed over their territories. They based their system on the U.S. National Hurricane Center’s conventions as well as their own national weather warning services. Rules include avoiding names that start with the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z (there aren’t enough of them), and those that were used for particularly destructive storms in the recent past, such as Andrew or Katrina ...

To say that a US weather "tradition" underpins this trend is a stretch. In fact, it was the clearly untraditional Weather Channel practice of naming winter storms that led to the practice -- the met offices were reacting to would-be Brick Tamlands coming up with their own names for storms in the age of clickbait. As quotes in the WSJ article well reflect, there's a general dubiousness about naming storms when wind is so frequent, but that's the time horizon of the social media beast. As we've documented before, the concession on naming storms has done nothing to stop the continued import of Weather Channel clowning, including the use of their names for storms that the met offices don't name, and screaming into a TV camera in gale force conditions.

The difference in weather conditions between the US exposure to infrequent but highly dangerous tropical storms and the recurrence of wind in the north Atlantic is reflected in the fact that the most resonant weather tradition in the UK and Ireland is the shipping forecast, i.e. the names are used for the sea areas affected by the storms rather than the storms themselves, 

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