12 February 2006

Blizzard vs. Nor'Easter

One of my pet peeves is the improper use of vocabulary, and bad grammar. Unfortunately, the reporters over at News 12 Westchester set both of these pet peeves off. I sent this e-mail to News 12 Westchester, Cablevision's Channel 12 news service, in response to their confusing and freely interchanging the terms "blizzard," "winter storm," and "Nor'Easter":

Dear News 12 Westchester:

Your reporters, throughout the day, are intermingling the terms "blizzard," "winter storm," and "Nor'Easter." It is my understanding that this storm meets the definition for a blizzard, and not a Nor'Easter.  According to weatherquests.com, a Nor'Easter is
A cyclonic storm occurring off the east coast of North America. These winter weather events are notorious for producing heavy snow, rain, and tremendous waves that crash onto Atlantic beaches, often causing beach erosion and structural damage. Wind gusts associated with these storms can exceed hurricane force in intensity. A nor'easter gets its name from the continuously strong northeasterly winds blowing in from the ocean ahead of the storm and over the coastal areas. www.weatherquests.com/services/knowledge/glossary/
wikipedia defines a Nor'Easter as
  • Nor'easter is a colloquial term for a storm whose winds come from the northeast, especially in the coastal areas of the northeastern United States. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nor'easter
  • Since the current storm has come from the west and not from northeast winds, and we're not seeing the devastating erosion to the beaches that we would see with a typical Nor'Easter, I'd like to ask that your reporters use the correct terms in describing this storm. It's bad enough that the educational system in this country has gone to hell in a hand basket; it's even worse that the media perpetrates incorrect usage of vocabulary and grammar.

    Thank you for your time and kind cooperation.

    Yours truly,
    Peter C. Frank
    Rye Brook, NY