Name that storm

  • Wednesday, March 12, 2014

There’s been a lot of talk these days about The Weather Channel naming winter storms, a practice they began in 2012. Not everyone likes it. Some abhor it. In fact, the New York Times has snubbed TWC by not even recognizing the names in its storm coverage. The Associated Press says it only uses names issued by national weather authorities. But the airlines have picked up on the names when they’ve issued waivers for a change in travel plans. And some of the large power companies have used the storm names in newsletters. Whether or not the storm names stick remains to be seen.

Even Stephen King, the master storyteller and author of horror and science fiction had an opinion. He tweeted the following, “Naming winter storms: dorky, or just me? I mean—Hercules? Get serious!” I guess one might argue that these freakish storms of late — packing wind, hail, ice and snow — most definitely deserve powerful, if not demonic names. Not to mention storms that heralded unheard of temperature variations, sometimes as much as 40 degrees in less than 24 hours. Last weekend at Topsail Beach, I walked on the sand amid bright and sunny 66 degrees; only to discover icy rain and a low of 26 degrees just after midnight.

At any rate, The Weather Channel is vigorously defending its practice. In February, 2013, they named a snowstorm in Boston (2 feet of accumulation), that also affected parts of Connecticut (40 inches of accumulation), Nemo. TWC then had 1 billion social media impressions, which convinced the executives they were hitting pay dirt; or at least the attention of coveted viewers. Once again, social media rules.

Well, whether TWC names storms Nemo, Pax, Hercules, Leon or Titan, I’ve got my own little names for this recent wicked winter weather.

Weight expander: Russell and I both gained weight while housebound. That’s because I dragged out half of my cookbooks and made new and exciting baked goods (not even my usual THANG) with names like ‘double crème, super-rich, caramel, chocolate, pistachio fantasia’. I baked cookies, cupcakes, brownies, muffins and custard. Okay, I didn’t bake custard; but that’s only because I ran out of eggs. There’s something about our primal instincts that come out in severe weather. Is it self-preservation? Harking back to caveman days: women cooked and men hunted, right? But honestly, Russell refused to go hunting for food in any capacity, unless you count that quick trip to Harry Teeter for ice cream.

Slipping on ice: My best friend, Carol, tried it and succeeded. Being the neat-nick that she is, (how ever did she want to be my friend — I’m many things, but not a neat-nick!) she called the trash company for information. They told her they couldn’t get there for at least two days. So she decided to haul the full trash from the end of the driveway back to its original spot next to her house, until they could get there. I know you’re thinking, “Why?” Me too. Anyway she fell trying to make the move and broke her arm. I hate that for her. Worst of all, she can’t brush her beautiful, thick, brown hair into a ponytail at night (she says it gets tangled otherwise while sleeping): so she tried to teach her hubby, Frank. Yeah, right. Men don’t do ponytails — at least, the men I know don’t and certainly not for their wives.

Lose the plants: My prize lemon tree didn’t survive (though my loquat did). It was given to me by Nick, our daughter, Katie’s father-in-law and owner of the best Greek restaurant ever. Not only that, these storms also killed my two night blooming cereus plants (rare and exotic) as well as my humongous aloe. In fact, an overall survey of my yard spells out disaster. Maybe I need to string some of that yellow, crime scene tape all the way around my front yard.

I hope we’ve seen the worst of the winter storms. According to Facebook, about a gazillion other people agree with me. My favorite post of late was, “What’s that huge yellow ball in the sky?” I don’t know, but at least we’ll all be getting outside and won’t be watching The Weather Channel naming storms for a while. I think I’ll name this one relief!

Ann Ipock “Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller”


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