Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster
It wasn’t until the first few days of February in the winter of 2022, that we got our first significant snowfall in these parts.
It was actually a pretty noteworthy weather-maker that impacted a large part of the central U.S. from Arkansas and Missouri up through the Midwest and the lower Great Lakes.
I think I logged almost 1 and 1/4 inches of rain, followed by more than 1/4 inch of sleet and freezing rain topped off by about 6 inches of snow.
Two days later, the driveway my wife and I shoveled out was clear and dry.
Nonetheless, the folks at the Weather Channel had a name for this system; Winter Storm Landon.
I’d like to know the “genius” in promotions and marketing that came up with this idea.
Oh, I get it.
We have name for hurricanes.
Actually, we started alternating between male and female handles years ago.
I guess we guys wanted in on the action.
But naming winter weather systems is simply “too Hollywood”.
Since this weather system was “Landon”, I’m assuming there have been at least 11 other storms that had monikers.
I’m a weather “geek” and I can’t recall a single one.
From the “unnamed” era, mention “The Blizzard of ’78” and you get lots of positive nods and mental images.
But it wasn’t named like Landon was.
However, I’m willing to bet that by this time next year, few, if any, will remember Winter Storm Landon, the star of the weather Channel in early February.
The other problem with Winter Storm Landon, the first thing that comes to mind for me is “Little Joe” on Bonanza.
Doesn’t exactly send chills of fear down my spine when I say it.
But we simply can’t have a winter storm with all those blue, red and purple-shaded areas on the maps if it’s not hysterically labeled.
Folks hear “Winter Storm Landon” and they’re suddenly compelled to dash to the supermarket and stack their carts full of bread, milk and toilet paper.
See, I think the grocery industry might me complicit with the TV weather people in manufacturing reasons to scare feeble folks into panic buying.
There’s only been one time in my life that I had to hunker down somewhere for more than a few hours due to weather and that was the aforementioned “Blizzard of ’78”.
Plus, there’s always ben an ample supply of other foodstuffs in the house that we could consume if we couldn’t get out.
But “Winter Storm Landon” sorta missed the mark for me.
Why not “Drifty” or “Slushy” or “Flakey”?
Long before “drama weather” took over the media, we had “named” weather events.
There was “The Year Without a Summer” (1816).
Following a volcanic eruption in Indonesia the year before, there was frost in New England in the summer of 1816 and crops failed. The climate shift caused famine-related migrations and poor nutrition due to crop damage contributed to the first worldwide cholera epidemic.
But the volcanic dust in the atmosphere created spectacular sunsets around the world.
The Galveston Hurricane in 1900 killed upwards of 10,000 people.
The Tri-State Tornado in 1925 from Missouri, Illinois and Indiana killed nearly 700 people and injured over 2,000.
The 1927 Mississippi River Flood killed over 1,000 and left millions homeless in the nation’s heartland.
The 1937 Ohio River Flood also left millions homeless.
Can’t forget the “Dust Bowl of 1933-1939” in the Great Plains either.
Those are “labels” folks today still remember or recall (at least until we stopped studying history”).
Since we’ve experienced Landon, can we expect next summer’s heat wave to get tagged?
But, can we at least get names that are a bit more descriptive?
How about “Big Sweaty” or “Brow-Mopper?”
“The Sweat Ring Special?”
“Big Blazer” might work.
At least you’d have an idea about the nature of the weather extreme.
When the Weather Channel first came out, this weather “nerd” was pretty happy to have continuous access to weather information.
But then it became too “Hollywood” and too “political”.
The only red and blue I care about on my weather map is reference to temperatures or precipitation amounts.
I kinda wish Bob “Hoolihan” Wells was able to access the weather info available today.
“Hoolihan the Weatherman” was the face you saw in front of the weather maps on WJW-TV 8 in Cleveland, OH in the 60’s and 70’s.
The station ran some ads and commercials promoting “Hoolihan the Weatherman” with, “Well, he’s right most of the time!”
Plus, he’d also send you off with, “Sunshine to you, no matter what the weather.”
Now this has nothing to do with his weather forecasting acumen, but he co-hosted the “Big Chuck and Hoolihan Show” on Friday nights from 1966-1979, featuring grade Z movies.
They replaced “Shock Theatre” with Ghoulardi (Ernie Anderson) and that local show used to beat “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” in the Cleveland ratings.
Nonetheless, Weather Channel, skip the “Landon” thing and try “Grocery Cart Stuffer”.