BY DYLAN SKRILOFF AND MICHAEL RICONDA
The Weather Channel appears to be going the route of MTV and tabloid magazines.
Scantily clad women luring men to click links to articles about global warming. Winter storms named after characters from fantasy novels. It’s enough to make America say, “Just what’s going on??”
The above picture of two scantily clad young women recently posted on the front page of the website www.weather.com, with title of the link named “Revealing Weather Story.” So, one would figure the article might pertain to issues of winter sunbathing in Florida, or something logically connected to scantily clad young women.
No. Not at all. It was just an article about global warming. Yes, it was the Weather Channel using sex just to get you to click a link.
And have you noticed the storm names? Now every storm system that produces four inches of snow and 10 mile per hour winds receives its own name from the weather forecasting station.
The channel announced in November that it would begin naming winter storms-including the Nor’easter which hit the East Coast days after Hurricane Sandy.
It’s a move which Rockland residents have reacted to with a mixture of indifference and amazement.
Though the Weather Channel took the step of naming the Nor’easter “Winter Storm Athena,” it was widely ridiculed for the move, including a rebuke from the National Weather Service, which instructed its own meteorologists to ignore the new tactic in favor of their own system which does not name winter storms.
Among the colorful names which have been or may be used for winter storms are “Caesar,” “Rocky,” and even “Gandolf,” evoking images of ancient conquerors, prizefighters, and wizards. Judging by the relatively low impact of storms such as “Athena” compared to the severity of the mildly-named Hurricane Sandy, “Winter Storm Smeagol” was curiously absent from the list.
“It’s an identification, that’s it,” Monica Baez said. “They should name the severe storms, but the minor ones? Don’t bother. It’s just a waste of time.”
Suzanne Musich agreed, stating that the effort seemed absurd and pointless.
“It just seems like this is the reason why they have their jobs: To name something,” Suzanne Musich said. “I think there are certainly better uses of their time than that.”
The Weather Channel’s winter weather expert Tom Niziol stated that the move was meant to raise awareness for storms which are often already given names such as “Snowmageddon” and helps to track the storm’s progress with a quick and easy reference.
“This is an ambitious project,” he said in a defense of the change. “However, the benefits will be significant. Naming winter storms will raise the awareness of the public, which will lead to more pro-active efforts to plan ahead, resulting in less impact and inconvenience overall.”
Niziol might have a point. Rocklanders will be sure to never forget last week’s powerhouse storm Helen. What a doozy; three inches.