There is no such thing as a “snowicane.” No really...there isn’t, no matter how much New York City wants to pretend there is.
Today, news outlets all over the northeast talked about the great “snow hurricane” and to stay indoors, but in making up a non-existent term, it added a good deal of confusion. If I was confused, I’m sure people in the northeast were.
Before I continue, there are a few things I need to say:
First, there is already a report of a thirty-year-old man who died from a frozen tree branch falling on him in Central Park in New York City, so I don’t want to make light of the storm. I’m not trying to be funny when I rip on the media for making up terms, which in several cases (especially in New York City) they did.
Second, I was going to link to our glossary of severe weather terminology, except, we don’t have one (yet). If I try to explain them here, it would derail the article, so let me just say, official weather advisories come directly from the National Weather Service, and no where else.
So I went to the National Weather Service (NWS) website to get the official view of what was going on. I suggest that everyone go there, because it will give you an up-to-date snapshot of every weather incident in every county in the United States. For the really impressive view, go here.
Now, if you look at the screenshot I took from the NWS website, you’ll see the East Coast is a mess, with all different kinds of problems: flood watches, winter storm warnings, small craft advisories, wind advisories, and even a few blizzard alerts in some spots in the Appalachians. We can also see most of Georgia and much of Florida is full of red flag warnings, which has nothing to do with rain or cold. It means that the air is so dry and wildfires are a danger! Otherwise we can see that Florida is being warned of freezes across the state.
What does it all mean?
In short, it means when you need weather information, you can trust the National Weather Service. They aren’t competing with another network or newspaper, so you just get the facts, no sensationalism. They are the nation’s authority when it comes to weather, and are the same source that every other government agency uses (including FEMA, state governors and the White House) for weather information.
The next time you see or hear something sensational in local media (like snowicane), do yourself a favor and check out the National Weather Service website before going anywhere else.