Bobby’s Sunday Meteorological Voice: Volume 2, Episode 2

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Kenneth Graham’s Promotion from the National Hurricane Center the Change we Need?

Good Sunday morning, I’m Chief Meteorologist Bobby Klark of @bobby’s weather and Meteorologist under the NorCast umbrella. Welcome to my now finally weekly blog Bobby’s Sunday Meteorological Voice which goes behind the scenes of the good, the bad, and the ugly of our weather/media profession. But first…

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, including the Daddy Klark and the Klark Uncle. We see another gorgeous day today, with low humidity and breezy conditions, which will last the next couple of days before we see the humidity return by mid-week.

A couple of weeks ago, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) made some pretty big changes to their hierarchy. The kind of changes that are both good and bad. they promoted the head of National Hurrican Center Kenneth Graham. And here comes the eye twitches and the confused looks. Who is Kenneth Graham and why does this matter? Fair question, which is why I type this blog weekly, since a lot of what we deal as meteorologists and weather people, happens behind the scenes which we show in 3-5 minute clips, whether watches and warnings, tropical updates, and winter storms.

Graham was head of the NHC since 2018, where we saw a record number of named storms in the Atlantic Ocean, including last year’s unprecedented number of names storms and hurricanes since 2006. I have been vocal in the naming of storms, not only the naming of sub-tropical storms, which are the same thing Nor’Easterr are (Cold cored storms that blow up over warm waters), to last year, 3 known, 2 others possible, storms being named and forming with no distinct closed center of circulation (a requirement to be a tropical system, even as a tropical depression, which are not named unless they were already a named storm and decrease their intensity (See Celia in the Pacific currently)

So why is this such an odd occurrence, only after 4 years. Most directors of the NHS last around 6-8 years. Some of the duties include previous strong hurricanes that they need to do a dissertation on the have that name retired, or replacing names of retired names in the 6 year cycle of names for the Pacific & Atlantic, and what I feel is most important: Keeping the integrity of oceanography, meteorology, and atmospheric sciences.

The last part is the true cog to why I feel this move was made. I have not been the only outspoken Meteorologist or weather person to question what the sensationalizing of weather phenomena over the past few years has been. As a matter of fact, an Associated Press poll shows that 78% of the media weather sector felt weather has become so sensationalized, that you could easily rewrite a lot of what original definitions were of particular weather characteristics. 78%!?! That even shocked me exploring and finding the data for this week’s blog.

Bigger proof to what is now the new regime at the NHC as come full throttle this year. The past 5 years, an upper level low pressure that took on “sub-tropical” characteristics off the southeastern US coastline from Florida to the Carolinas, have been named. One as early as March and most in April and May. This past spring, I think we all can remember a cut off upper level low pressure sitting off the Carolinas. Remember that 10 day, constant cloudy, raw, damp air mass along the shore and towards the end, muggy and humid inland system? Yup, these were the types of systems named previous years and suddenly, as we have become accustomed to, this was not named. I even had to say to my colleague Nick that I was shocked it was not named and he agreed with me.

So far, only one named storm has happened, a tropical system named Alex. There was recently a tropical wave that had sat off the eastern Central American coast. Again, previous years, probably would have been named but the triggered wasn’t pulled and then the press release came out about the change at the head.

Do I personally blame Graham for the mis-naming of systems over the previous 4-5 years? of course not. I understand we are in the midst of the 50 year anniversary of Watergate but Storm Naming-Gate? I couldn’t go that far. BUT, after my blog early this year talking about the change in hands at the Weather Channel, with Byron Allen buying the national weather channel (also the owner of the Denver Broncos), I happened to notice the ridiculous notion to name “winter storms” by the station that gave us Mike Siedel pretending to be blown away by a gust of wind during storm coverage while two people in the background were strolling by, not as many storms were “named”

Graham will now take on the “promoted” roll of the NOAA Assistant Administrator of Weather Servies and will head the National Weather Service. So much for a promotion. Basically, it’s a step backwards in the weather step ladder, They are actually taking more out of his hand and giving him less responsibility as the NWS is really under the thumb of the overall scheme of NOAA and the SPC. What he can do, now, is take himself out of the spotlight and while the weather world has been fractured by the Weather Channel and worried about how named storms we can get, maybe with this move and Allen buying TWC, could our profession swing the pendulum back to why we do the weather: Safety?

Thank you for joining me this week. If you have any comments, questions, or maybe a topic you would like me to discuss or talk about, you can comment below or send me an email bobbyklarktv@gmail.com. Have a great day everyone!

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