Saturday, January 18, 2020

Still Life with Robin: TWC’s WS 26 for 19-20*

The Weather Channel 
by Peggy Robin

(* Translation: The Weather Channel’s Winter Storm List of 26 Names for the 2019-2020 Season)

Starting in  2012 and every year since, The Weather Channel has come up with an alphabetical list of names to give to the winter storms that meet certain criteria. And every year it’s given me the chance to write a column making fun of the names they choose. Oh, It’s been an easy target: TWC has got a laughable track record of silly names for storms. They select names that are too sweet (Polly or Violet in 2017-2018), or even contradictory to what a storm is all about (like Pax, from the 2013 list – it’s Latin for “peace), or too puzzling (what the hell kind of name is Vexo? Or Quid?) Or they pick names that are already inextricably linked to some other pop-culture icon (Wilbur in 2017 – I dare you to say that name without thinking of the pig in Charlotte’s web, or worse, the sitcom character who owned Mr. Ed the Talking Horse. Then there's Linus in 2014. Do you see a little boy holding a security blanket? I sure do!)

Just think about it: A huge storm hits -- thousands are left without power, suffering in the dark and the cold, the highways are littered with smashed up cars -- and some guy in a suit on the Weather Channel is standing there, announcing with a straight face, this damage was caused by Winter Storm Zoey (yes, that’s right – the personification of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, turned into a raging winter storm)

But things do change… and sometimes they even improve. I’ve looked over the Weather Channel’s list for the winter of 2019-2020, and I have to admit, there’s not much here to deride. All pretty solid. Take a look for yourself:

TWC’s 26 named storms for the winter 2019-2020:
Aubrey, Bessie, Caleb, Dorothy, Ezekiel, Finley, Gage, Henry, Isaiah, Jacob, Kade, Lamont, Mabel, Nash, Odell, Pearl, Quincey, Ruth, Sadie, Thatcher, Upton, Veronica, Wyatt, Xandra, Yates, Zachariah.

Well, I do have just one quibble – and it’s with the R on the list: “Ruth” literally means “compassion” and so I wouldn’t have picked that name for a destructive force of nature – but the dictionary definition of Ruth is not so widely known that it would sound jarring to most viewers of The Weather Channel if they tuned in and caught a warning to prepare for Winter Storm Ruth. (Is that a condescending assumption on my part? Possibly.)

So where are we now in this storm season? Well, the one that just dusted us with flakes today is the outer edge of Winter Storm Jacob (the biblical patriarch, who wrestled all night with an angel – quite appropriate!).

If you are looking for a harmless way to waste your time on a dreary day in January, you can journey back through all seven years of TWC’s storm names with these links to the past:

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.   

No comments:

Post a Comment