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World/National News

February 9, 2013

No hype with storm; experts call it the real thing

(Continued)

Snowbound MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel agrees that forecasters are telling it like it is. But he adds that extreme weather like this fascinates not just weather geeks, but the media and everyone.

“People sort of like it,” says Emanuel, who is stuck in his Lexington, Mass., home. “It’s the weather porn phenomena. There are people glued to The Weather Channel.”

Heidi Cullen is a climate scientist who once worked for The Weather Channel. Now chief climatologist at Climate Central, a nonprofit science journalism group, says our fascination with this storm is normal and this is a blizzard worthy of the attention.

“This is historic. This is a big one,” Cullen says. “When you have a good forecast and a long lead time... You see it form and develop a personality. And if you name it, it has even more of a personality. It’s the intersection of science, technology and media.”

“By definition when we give things a name, it does allow us to connect with it,” Cullen says. “It gives it a narrative. We’re hard-wired for stories and we can turn these weather events into stories.”

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