For a few years now, The Weather Channel has been naming Winter storms. They began the practice because of social media, and it would have been easier to share information about the storms online. Now, TWC started to do this, but the National Weather Service, who are the ones who issues the watches and warnings reported on The Weather Channel, did not pick up on this idea. Now, other countries are about to start naming Winter storms. Beginning this Fall, the United Kingdom’s Met Office and the Irish Meteorological Service will begin to name Winter storms. The reason, they believe naming significant storms will increase public awareness of severe weather and thus improve appropriate responses to warnings.
And they have a point! These days, there is an explosive growth in the web, apps, and social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. And on social media, everyone uses hashtags. It is a lot easier to use a name of a Winter storm with a hashtag than to just say there is major snowfall in a town. Germany and the Netherlands also names Winter storms, and the United States should do the same thing! At first, I thought naming Winter storms was a stupid idea. I mean, naming a storm that only leaves a little snow or ice behind is no big deal. Now, naming a hurricane that leaves massive damage was another thing. And storms like that needs a name! TWC saw the value of naming Winter storms, because they saw how important social media is in communicating emergency information. At first I thought it was a marketing ploy, but now I see this as lifesaving information.
By naming Winter storms, people can look on social media, and search via the name hashtag, and see if their school is closed, or report a power outage, or see traffic conditions, or see if a business is open, or see important information from the town they live in. These days, every major town has a presence on Facebook and Twitter. You need to see and might have to share real time information that could prove to be a lifesaving thing! The National Weather Service needs to recognize the importance of serving people in the way they find easiest to consume information. And these days, it’s social media and hashtags. Everyone uses hashtags to send important information, or to share an important photo on Instagram, or share an important video on YouTube. See the importance of social media and hashtags?
If a hurricane threatens the United States, The Weather Channel, and every news outlet will use the hashtag of the storm name on their graphics and on their social media. Heck, some National Weather Service offices will also use the hashtags on their social media accounts. They need to be doing the same thing for Winter storms. Social media will never go away, and people needs to find the important information in the quickest way possible, which involves hashtags, and using the Winter storm name as the hashtag. It’s time for the National Weather Service to adopt the naming of Winter storms. If they don’t like the names The Weather Channel comes up with, create your own list, and TWC will follow it! Winter storms can create major havoc especially in major urban centers, and the people deserves to know if they need to stay home, so they are not stuck somewhere. Get with it NWS!