In case you missed it, there's a snowstorm coming! AccuWeather is calling it "East Coast Blizzard." The National Weather Service is calling it "Major Winter Storm." My brother is calling it "So Much for My Flight to New Orleans."
But that name is a lie! Much like last February's "Nemo," this is yet another one of the Weather Channel's attempts to horn in on the World Meteorological Organization's storm-naming territory. The World Meteorological Organization is an international body with 191 member states and territories. It is based in Geneva, and it is a peaceful, benevolent agency:
As weather, climate and the water cycle know no national boundaries, international cooperation at a global scale is essential for the development of meteorology and operational hydrology as well as to reap the benefits from their application. WMO provides the framework for such international cooperation.
The Weather Channel, on the other hand, is a for-profit business owned by NBCUniversal and two investment firms. It just up and decided one day to name winter storms, and now #Hercules is one of the East Coast's top trends because we all bought into it. Except for Connecticut's WFSB 3, which is going with Bethany. (For the record, WFSB has been naming winter storms since 1971. This year, the channel is naming storms after towns that are also people names. Not sure why "Derby" or "Guilford" are on that list ... )
So, if you want to buy into that crass commercialization of our weather, go ahead and call this thing Hercules. If you want to go with the actual official storm name, call it "Winter Storm," I guess? The World Meteorological Organization only names tropical storms.
And if you're in Connecticut and have no shame, it's Bethany.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.