I know I said recently that newspapers should stop worrying so much about AP style and other copy editing minutia. But I have to add a large exception for jargon — particularly, as John McIntyre notes in a great post, redundant meteorological jargon:
Listening to the radio in the car yesterday, I heard an announcer warn of the possibility of “rain activity” later in the day. How, I wondered, does rain activity differ from rain?
McIntyre also gives a nice rundown of the many unnecessary words TV weatherpeople use for snow:
snow event, snowfall, snowstorm, snowflakes, sleet, slush, wintry mix, blizzard, precipitation, icy pellets, powder (for skiing), blanket and the apparently irresistible vulgarism white stuff.
Ah, mid-Atlantic winters. One of the great things about living in New Hampshire (lots of snow) and then Florida (no snow) is not having to watch TV newspeople go nuts over the hint of flurries and report from the supermarket on people rushing to buy bread, toilet paper and milk — just as they (both newspeople and shoppers) have done every single other time ever that there’s been snow in the region.
And yet, you never hear anyone worry that TV news is going broke. No justice, I tells ya.