Last week in Baton Rouge, we had some very rough weather. Schools and state offices in the area closed before the arrival of widespread severe thunderstorms that spawned damaging winds and long-lived, deadly tornadoes.
Yet, numerous people on social media poo-pooed the dire forecast issued the day before, saying things like “It won’t be that bad” or “You’d think there’s a hurricane coming.” Honestly, I had no idea there were so many meteorological experts on Facebook.
Then again, maybe the official terminology employed by the National Weather Service is insufficient to fully convey to most Americans the actual threat approaching weather poses.
Sure, most folks around here can appreciate what a Category 2 hurricane can do, and they usually prepare for it accordingly. However, this wasn’t a tropical system heading our way. It was a late-winter outbreak of severe weather, which means the NWS’ Storm Prediction Center issued a “severe weather risk” forecast for our region.
The terms used to forecast threatening weather simply aren’t threatening enough.
I consider myself a weather nerd, and even I tend to dismiss most of these forecasts simply because of the nomenclature used. Not because I don’t trust what Jay Grymes or Steve Caparotta — our local meteorologists on WAFB — say, but because the terms used to forecast threatening weather simply aren’t threatening enough.
For example, the forecast we were given in our area included “enhanced” and “moderate” risks of severe weather, which are the third- and second-highest levels issued by the SPC. In fact, it was the first time in over three years a moderate risk had been forecast for the greater Baton Rouge area, which means it’s a big deal, even if the name literally means “calm” in all other weather parlance. “Moderate” plus “weather” usually equals “nice.”
Yet, moderate, in terms of severe weather forecasts, equates to school closures and deadly tornadoes. And yes, I know it’s a moderate risk of severe weather, but all most people see is “moderate.”
The nerds at the SPC need to update how such weather forecasts are classified and described if they really want to grab the attention of the American people and keep them safe. This is the era of Donald Trump, after all. Trump is the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, and there is nothing subtle about him. Nuance and measured language is for pussies, goddammit!
And boy, are the current severe weather levels subtle. See for yourself:
For starters, the two lowest levels are “marginal” and “slight.” How many people know the difference between marginal and slight? Hell, even the thesaurus thinks they mean the same damn thing. And both tell me “no big deal. Don’t even bother worrying about this forecast.”
Next is enhanced. Who doesn’t want things enhanced? Enhanced breasts. Enhanced ass. Enhanced weather. It’s all good! All of Trump’s wives are enhanced, and that’s the way he likes them.
As I mentioned before, the second-highest threat level, the one that forced parents to find day care for their school-aged children at the last minute, is moderate. Moderate, as in middle-of-the road. As in mild. As in meh.
We should be on alert if the second-highest level of severe weather is forecast for our area, right? Maybe even a little scared, too, huh? Well, I have news for the NWS: Ohio Gov. John Kasich is a moderate, and nobody — I mean, nobody — is scared of him. Matter of fact, moderates are all but extinct in the Republican Party because they’re seen as weak, which means anything labeled as moderate is seen as downright pathetic by at least half of the population.
They need to start using lingo the typical Trump supporter — as well as others whose English comprehension has been affected by wall-to-wall media coverage of the presidential candidate — can more fully appreciate.
Finally, there’s the highest level, labeled quite unimaginatively “high.” Again, like it or not, we’re living in the Donald Trump era, where high is good. How high is the wall he’s going to build along the Mexican border? Not high enough! That’s why it keeps getting higher every week!
If the meteorological community wants the average American in 2016 to really pay attention to severe weather forecasts, it needs to start using lingo the typical Trump supporter — as well as others whose English comprehension has been affected by wall-to-wall media coverage of the presidential candidate — can more fully appreciate. That’s why I’ve put together this updated list of severe weather risk levels in Trumponese to better communicate to millions of Americans the true risks of looming severe weather:
Not only have I reclassified the five levels with quintessentially Trump descriptors like “lightweight,” “very strong,” and “yuuuge,” but I’ve also phrased each level’s description in a manner that can easily be appreciated by people who have been exposed to excessive levels of Donald Trump.
The fact that my updated chart resembles the “dehydrated” section of a urine color chart was purely a happy accident.
Additionally, I’ve done away with the pictures illustrating what forecasted thunderstorms are capable of producing and replaced them with photos of Trump indicating the appropriate level of concern people in the affected areas should show. That’s because people are undoubtedly becoming increasingly acclimated to taking emotional cues from Trump’s facial expressions.
Lastly, who needs all those contrasting colors? The only color that matters in the Trump era is orange, which explains why the five levels of severe weather risk are associated with various shades of orange.
Incidentally, the fact that my updated chart resembles the “dehydrated” section of a urine color chart, as seen posted above urinals and toilets in some restrooms frequented by athletes, was purely a happy accident.
So there you have it, National Weather Service: my contribution to help you “Make America Safe Again.” Please be advised that if Donald Trump is elected president, you may need to revisit how storms are named. If that happens, might I suggest naming them after Trump’s ex-wives, people he’s sued, and people he’s had Twitter spats with? There are plenty to ensure several hurricane seasons would pass before having to recycle the names.