Fri February 22, 2013
Why Wichita Didn't Call The Storm 'Q'
The Weather Channel tried its hand at winter storm naming for the 17th time this week.
The storm they named "Q" made its across the state, dumping 14.2 inches of snow in Wichita, making it the second worst snow storm in the city’s recorded history.
But if you were following storm updates from Wichita residents and media, you might not have even known it was called "Q."
On Twitter, citizens and journalists gravitated to #thundersnow, #blizzardofoz and the catchall, #kswx.
Blizzard of Oz seems to have been the most popular local hashtag to emerge during the storm, but it wasn't original to "Q." The hashtag was also used for a snow storm that hit Kansas in early 2011.
But, why are we naming winter storms? And, why did we reject ours?
After the Weather Channel naming announcement in late 2012 there was much speculation on the decision.
Erin McCarthy over at Mental Floss outlined the Weather Channel's reasons, including increased awareness and easy tracking on social media.
But #Q wouldn't have served you well if you wanted to follow Wichita's storm situation on social media. A quick #Q search on Twitter yields few hits from Wichitans.
In a tweet, James Williams of the Wichita Red Cross said they didn't use "Q" because they follow National Weather Service guidelines, and the NWS does not acknowledge winter storm names.
Naomi Shapiro, who tweets @superdumb, says she used #blizzardofoz over #Q, saying it was more fun to use something based off of Ozzy Osbourne.
Either way, the naming will likely continue, at least as long as national media outlets buy in.