Thursday, February 25, 2010

Turn Down the Heat

When the restrained folks at the National Weather Service call you out, maybe you've gone too far. We've all watched TV weather people go off the edge, repeatedly, with each storm but a lot of the over-the-top language is making it into print. And have you noticed how much more coverage and accompanying hysteria we get from TV for an East Coast storm  than a comparable--or far worse--storm in the Midwest or northern states?

On Tuesday, 48 hours before the storm was to hit, Accuweather called it "hurricane-like," a "monster," and a "powerful storm of historical proportions" that would wreak havoc from Pennsylvania to Maine and by Wednesday was using the term "snowicane."
That prompted a stern response from National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Evanego.
"It's almost inciting the public, inciting panic," he said.
The Weather Channel called the hurricane talk "bad meteorology."
Accuweather senior meteorologist and director of forecasting operations Ken Reeves called the NWS criticism "unfounded" and said there is nothing wrong in using language that gets people's attention when the situation calls for it.

Yes, and there's nothing wrong with, say, just reporting the facts and stop trying to sell the momentousness of the story so that you can boost ratings or get attention for yourself.

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