In some ways the folks at the National Weather Service and local forecasters aren’t really too different from the marketing department at an ad agency. They know that to keep everyone’s attention, it’s not enough to just predict the weather – after all, groundhogs routinely do that with 50% accuracy. That’s probably why they started naming hurricanes all those years ago. Assigning them human names gave us an identity to fear, hate or ignore.
After decades of limited success naming hurricanes, the weather experts have decided to start naming damn near every two-bit squall to form in the Gulf of Whatever. As they’ve discovered, giving a storm a name doesn’t guarantee it’ll live up to the hype. In addition, some names just don’t have the ominous ring to them which a big storm deserves. Take for example the innocuously named Hurricane Sandy which kicked the crap out of much of the Northeast, versus the scary-named Tropical Storm Lucifer who’s only claim to fame was causing a ten minute rain delay at a Florida Marlins game. When the weather people ended up amending Sandy from “Hurricane” to “Super-Storm”, it seemed they had stumbled onto something beyond playing the name game.
This year, they really hit a home run with The Polar Vortex. The name really has it all; a reference to the frozen tundra of the north and the sexy technical term “vortex”. For those of you too captivated by my writing to jump over to Google for a definition of vortex, I’ve provided one below.
Vortex; vor-teks, n . 1. A howling, unforgiving funnel of nastiness, often found in weather forecasts during the winter of 2014. 2. An antiquated term once used in weather forecasts in 2014 but rarely seen again outside of midterm exams in meteorology schools. Origin: From the Greek Fartecs, the God of mean %@#$*# weather. Example: An equatorial vortex is expected to bring typhoon-strength winds and high temperatures in excess of 137 degrees to the greater Duluth region this April.
As we slip and plow through February, the weather gurus are already scrambling to come up with new names for the next big thing. There are no definite winners yet, they’re still in the brain storming phase.
Here are a few of the front runners so far:
- Polar Vortex II – Return with a Vengeance
- Hurricane Miley
- Shit Storm of Epic Proportions
- End of Days – Ice Box of the Lord
- Tropical Storm Christie (Expect Delays and a partial eclipse of the sun)
- Adding “-mageddon” to the end of damn near any weather related term – Favorites so far include swamp-ass humidity-mageddon and ball lightning-mageddon.
- Kelvin Kold Front – This aint your Daddy’s Fahrenheit
- Trumpnado (Includes super-heated winds which will mess up nearly any hairstyle)
- Broomhilda’s Bosoms
- Deep Freez – (The Last “e” Froze Off)
- Satan’s Sauna
- Mr. and Mrs. Coldfront and the Twins
- Oh Hail No!
It’s obvious that some of these catch phrases will never see the light of day. It’s likely that they have even better ones that they’re keeping secret under a blanket of 3-6 inches of snow (with higher totals north and west of the city). In fact, you can fog-bank on it.
It took me longer than usual to even get the first draft of this dog done, due to my having to drop everything repeatedly to go out front and shovel snow. They’re predicting another twelve inches tonight, so if you happen to comment and don’t get a prompt reply, it may be because I’m out front working on finding the pavement again.