|National Weather Service|
by Peggy Robin
I’m a huge fan of the Capital Weather Gang and I rely on it for accurate, readable, even enjoyable weather forecasts. Take today’s forecast for example. Here they are describing in a chatty, breezy way the moist, hot air mass that’s bringing scattered thunderstorms to our area. They make it sound something like a familiar visitor – rather like an annoying neighbor who will drop in for a bit but won’t stick around for too long. You immediately get we’re in for:
“Showers are quickly progressing through the area, with the heaviest activity on the front end and light to moderate stuff behind. The batch is weakening overall as well. It should be out of here before too long. A few have asked where the rain came from. Well, it basically popped up just to our west, possibly on an old boundary from previous activity.” [http://wapo.st/1gGDOYr]
Now take a look at the same forecast, this time from the National Weather Service:
A MOIST AIRMASS IN PLACE ACROSS THE MID-ATLANTIC THIS MORNING WITH TEMPS AND DEWPTS IN THE 70S. WEAK ISENTROPIC LIFT WILL CONTINUE ACROSS THE REGION THIS MORNING. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS N WV WILL LIKELY ENTER THE HIGHLANDS THIS MORNING. HI RES GUIDANCE KEEPS THE ACTVITY ACROSS THE HIGHLANDS WITH LITTLE EASTWARD PROGRESSION THIS MORNING. MOST OF THE REGION SHOULD STAY DRY THIS MORNING. [http://1.usa.gov/1fdNfgZ]
See what I mean? The NWS version not only is a lot less interesting to read – it’s barely intelligible. And even if you are the type to be able to translate all the meterological jargon, you still have to grapple with that ALL CAPS format. What’s with that? There is no reason on earth that the NWS can’t post in normal sentence case.
People have been campaigning for this change for years – like this well-known weather blogger Mike Smith in his column of June, 2013: http://bit.ly/1CInK2g - or as reported in this October 26, 2012 article from Mother Jones magazine: http://bit.ly/1OmrB6r
Well, here it is, two to three years later, and (sigh) there’s been not one jot of progress on the change-of-case front. The sigh is because I am resigned to the idea that this small simple change may never come about. I can see from a quick study of the history of the problem that many stronger, more influential voices than mine have tried and failed to organize against the ALL CAPS tide. And they could not beat it back. But what if the Capital Weather Gang were to take it on? They are so clever! And they have so many loyal followers behind them. It seems if anyone has the force to push for this reform, they do.
How about it, gang leaders? Jason, Angela, Dan, Ian, and A. Camden….could you help? I mean, HELP!
YOUR DEVOTED FAN,
Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland ParkListserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.