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The Weather Channel Irks The National Weather Service

Flickr user ebmorse

On the heels of Hurricane Sandy, nobody wanted to have to deal with a nor’easter, and some of us were confused when we heard talk of “Athena”

The practice of naming storms can actually be traced back to the late 19th century, and the U.S. government has been officially naming storms since the early 1950s.

But usually, names are reserved for major hurricanes and tropical cyclones. Earlier today I noticed talk of “Storm Athena” and I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. Usually the National Weather Service sticks to an alphabetical system and they alternate between male and female. Since we just had “Sandy” last week, the next named storm should be a male “T” name. So who is this “Athena”? 

It turns out that The Weather Channel decided that this nor’easter,that we’re currently dealing with is significant enough that they went ahead and gave it a name. They explain their thinking here (my personal conspiracy theory is that they just thought it would be easier to get it to “trend” on Twitter with a catchy, easy to remember name).   

The National Weather Service, however, isn’t too happy that The Weather Channel took it upon themselves to go ahead and name this storm. In fact the NWS has issued an official “Administrative Message” directing their officials not to refer to the name “Athena”.   

So what do you think, is The Weather Channel just trying to come up with something catchy that people will remember? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

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