As Sandy converges on our stark, inevitable fate, people outside the weather nerd community are being again confronted by our dark, uncomfortable question – why do the official forecasts always make it seem like they’re shouting? Why do the forecasters always write in all caps? There are times when this feels right:
FLOOD WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF DELAWARE…NORTHEAST MARYLAND… NEW JERSEY AND PENNSYLVANIA…INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS… IN DELAWARE…DELAWARE BEACHES…INLAND SUSSEX…KENT AND NEW CASTLE….
Other times, not so much:
THE WARMING TREND CONTINUES SUNDAY AS THE RELATIVELY STRONG LATE OCTOBER SUN CONTINUES TO MODIFY THE LOWER ATMOSPHERE QUITE NICELY. A VERY WEAK BACK DOOR COLD FRONT IS STILL EXPECTED TO DROP INTO NORTHEAST NM SATURDAY NIGHT…RESULTING MAINLY IN A WIND SHIFT AND LITTLE IF ANY CHANGE IN TEMPERATURE.
Kevin Drum explains the background behind the all caps tradition. (it apparently has something to do with Agenda 21 and the whole One World Govt. problem or something). Thanks to Kerry Jones at the NWS Albuquerque office for pointing me to this daring mixed-case experiment:
.SYNOPSIS…Several rounds of rain are expected over the next several days. Temperatures will be a bit warmer Sunday through the end of next week. Snow levels will climb above 5000 thousand feet by late tonight, so travel over the mountain passes should improve on Sunday. A break in the wet weather pattern may arrive next Friday or Saturday, but may not last long. The outlook for early November looks abnormally wet.
We’re rooting for you, Spokane!
Also note the total lack of proper punctuation in NWS products, as about the only allowable characters are ellipses … the / the – and the period at the end of a sentence. Drives me crazy.