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National Weather Service says no to naming storms

6:39 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
Nor'easter impacting the Northeast United States as seen from the WKYC StormView radar map.
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The National Weather Service (NWS) has sent an internal memo asking staff members not to use the name "Athena" to describe the current Nor'easter impacting the Northeastern United States.

The name, "Athena", announced Tuesday and coined by the The Weather Channel, is part of the company's strategy announced in early October to name noteworthy winter storms, with a goal of better communicating the threat and timing of significant impacts associated with these storms.

This announcement did not come without controversy, as many weather professionals from across the country were up in arms.

One major concern is that naming winter storms might be misleading to the public.

Accuweather Founder Joel N. Myers released a statement saying, "In unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, The Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety...we have explored this issue for 20 years and have found that this is not good science and will mislead the public."

Also, just after the announcement, the NWS released this official statement, "The National Weather Service has no opinion about private weather enterprise products and services. A winter storm's impact can vary from one location to another, and storms can weaken and redevelop, making it difficult to define where one ends and another begins. While the National Weather Service does not name winter storms, we do rate major winter storms after the fact."

In the memo, the NWS says, "The NWS does not use named winter storms in our products. Please refrain from using "Athena" in any of our products."

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