At night, the ice weasels come

Weaselspeak, says Lynn, has infected weather reporting:

Winter storms are now “winter weather events” or “winter precipitation events”. I don’t know … maybe it’s not weaselspeak; maybe just the opposite. Maybe they’re trying to make it sound bigger and more dramatic.

It’s not just weather, I suspect: everything imaginable is an “event” these days. Is anything less important than an “event for television”? Since most of us get our weather from TV, we inevitably get TV’s inflated sense of self as part of the package.

This is not, of course, to knock the meteorologists themselves:

Actually, I admire the local weather people. They’re always on top things and do an excellent job of informing the public.

But the trappings of television give minor annoyances like this particular “winter weather event” prominence they simply don’t deserve. And I always wonder if fear of litigation is written into the script: it wouldn’t be the first time a weatherman was sued for being wrong — although this guy was actually sued for being overly dramatic.


  1. Veronica »

    1 February 2007 · 1:52 pm

    Maybe it’s just their way of saying, “We don’t really know what form it’ll take, but some sort of cold liquid will fall from the sky.” It’s slightly more professional than, “Ice? Freezing rain? Snow? Popsicles? WHO KNOWS?!”

  2. Mark »

    1 February 2007 · 2:15 pm

    There’s something about the word “event.” I noticed a while back that all those awful car-company commercials now promote “sales events” instead of just “sales.”

  3. McGehee »

    2 February 2007 · 8:13 am

    Winter storms are now “winter weather events” or “winter precipitation events”.

    Gahh. A “winter weather event” sounds like a national holiday to celebrate sleet.

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