Anyone else notice how weather forecasting (and related types of science)has taken a decisively edgier tone over the years. Hardly a season goes by anymore without some new “scarier” term being used to describe weather-related events. Some were invented (Super Storm), while others may have been dusted off and brought out o the archives. The same can be said about events such as forest fires, earthquakes, or tsunamis (I remember when we just called them tidal waves).
No one is saying that many of these phenomenon are not dangerous or caution shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it seems that viewership and ratings are driving some of this…got to fill that 24-hour news cycle, ya know.
Here are a few I thought of, but I am sure there are many more (ones shown in bold are actual formal weather terms identified by NOAA for weather; the USGS for earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis; and/or the US Forest Service for forest fires). Please feel free to send along others you may have heard in the recent years. Thanks!
- Landspout (just heard this one for the first time a couple of weeks ago – still not quite sure what the difference is between it and a small tornado)
- Riptide (used to be undertow)
- Super storm (Can’t you just say Hurricane Sandy?)
- The actual naming of winter storms (to keep the hurricane hype going into winter, I guess?)
- The rating of a tornado’s strength from F0-F5 (who cares, just get out-of-the-way!)
- Alberta Clipper (fast-moving winter storm from Western Canada)
- Saskatchewan Screamer (similar to an Alberta Clipper)
- Hook-echo (possible tornado forming as seen by Doppler radar)
- Derecho(e) (long, straight-line windstorm – heard this term for the first time a few weeks ago)
- Wildfire (used to be forest fires – anyone remember Smokey the Bear?)
- Bomb (lava fragments being ejected by the volcano)
- Fire storm
- Ground failure (what happened to landslides?)
- Rupture front (ouch!)
- Compression wave (I doubt they are talking about a small wave hello).