Web Exchange

April 15, 2013

Video Highlights

Creating a Hailstorm at IBHS

Creating a hailstorm is no easy task, according to researchers at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, who said the project was several years in the making. Duplicating Mother Nature, researchers were able to compare how different types of residential roofing and siding materials perform during a full-scale indoor hailstorm conducted at its research facility in South Carolina. Claims Journal’s Denise Johnson took us inside the facility and interviewed the people who helped bring the storm to life.

Podcast Highlights

Cargo Theft Trends and Investigation Tips

In an interview with Claims Journal, Keith Lewis, vice president of operations at CargoNet, points out the hotspots and states where cargo theft occurs most and provides tips for adjusters investigating cargo theft claims.

How Motorcycle Crashes Are Investigated

Former police officer Lance Phy, now a senior consultant with Rimkus Consulting Group, explains why motorcycle accident investigations differ from investigations of vehicle crashes. While skid marks may be useful in auto crash investigations, fluid spills, paint transfer and crush damage are better indicators of how a motorcycle crash occurred.

In a Reader’s View

Should Winter Storms Have Their Own Names?

The creeping acceptance of a mercenary scheme to name winter storms is not among the most important things in the news, or even the weather. But like an ill wind, it carries an unmistakable whiff of chaos and dissipation.

The system for naming hurricanes and tropical storms was developed over decades to facilitate communications about weather patterns that can endanger large swaths of the planet. Storms must reach sustained winds of at least 40 mph before they earn a name from one of several rotating lists established by an international committee of the U.N. World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Officials even have a deliberate procedure to retire the names of the most damaging storms once a year.

Then there is the Weather Channel’s system for naming certain winter storms, which looks to have been developed by the Channels’ marketing staff in a fluorescent-lit meeting room deep within its offices off an Atlanta-area highway interchange.

The channel’s comically vague explanation of its process says it will assess “several variables” before naming “noteworthy” storms — including whether they affect rush hour. The alleged benefits presented by the network include ease of “hashtagging” on Twitter.

This isn’t much of a bid for gravitas, and the Weather Channel’s choice of storm names doesn’t help. A good portion of its list — including Gandolf, Khan, Rocky and Yogi — consists of names closely associated with characters from science fiction, popular movies and cartoons.

How long will it be before this pseudoscientific system mutates to encompass more unremarkable weather patterns? Brace yourself for future storms like Heat Wave LeBron or Stiff Breeze Bieber. (The Philadelphia Inquirer/AP)

The story generated several comments.

Vince Phillips says: Naming winter storms is absolutely ridiculous. I know the Weather Channel wants to gain an audience, but because they decided to go glitzy and become a shallow entertainment medium, they’ve lost credibility and naming winter storms is part of that Madison Avenue superficiality.

Common Sense says: Winter storms have always been known “as the storm of (year).” This naming of winter storms is absolutely absurd! Like hurricanes, only the big one’s names are remembered and winter storms are remembered by the year.

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