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Weather Buzzwords


I enjoy reading the colorful and dramatic weather buzzwords created, or hyper focused upon, by the media every few years. For example

And on and on. I understand why these exist. Some "buzzwords" are actually, in fact, real scientific terms that the general public has never heard before ("polar vortex" being the main one). Other buzzwords are true buzzwords that a news channel or random blogger creates for getting looks at their videos, webpage, etc.

A few years ago, I thought to myself, how could I use language and randomness to create my own weather buzzwords?

I'll pause here to note that I spell out all of this article in the book Weather Buzzwords: What will they come up with next?

Oh, back to the article!

I had, and have, two main goals. First, the weather buzzwords need to be more funny than serious. Second, I would use any popularity my project may generate to help others focus on situations where people have had their lives turned upside down by weather-related events. For example, a family may need money because their home was destroyed by a hurricane.

Therefore, I created As of this writing, there are about ~3.5 billion, yes billion, possible weather buzzwords that can be created in this manner, and that number regularly increases. I also created a companion weatherbuzzwords Twitter account, that produces these weather buzzwords in a variety of formats, as well as displays links to charity sites, weather facts, weather related jokes, and affiliate links, to help get the word out, that I can generally let run on autopilot. I consider this project a sort of odd work of poetry.

Here are a few examples of weather buzzwords created from my program

As you can see, it is very unlikely to get any repeats.

How does this happen? First, I made a big list of adjectives, places, and events. I continually update these lists as I think of or find an adjective, place, or event that might be interesting to add. It is important to add as much weather related vocabulary in these lists as possible. However, there are also a large amount of completely silly ones and a few "Easter egg" surprises contained in them (such as a "Hi mom!" and a "Help, I'm trapped in a comedy factory!"). Then, I considered a few ways these adjectives, places, and events could be combined to replicate weather buzzwords

I then draw a random number between 0 and 1. If the random number falls in 0 to .33, I select an [ADJECTIVE] [PLACE] [EVENT]. If the random number is between .33 and .66, I select a [PLACE] [EVENT]. Last, if the random number is between .66 and 1, I select an [ADJECTIVE] [EVENT].

To calculate the total possible combinations, let A stand for the number of adjectives, P stand for the number of places, and E stand for the number of events. Then the total possible combinations are: APE + PE + AE = E(AP + P + A)

This is the main "guts" of the project, done in JavaScript as well as Excel. To select from the other types of postings for the companion weatherbuzzwords Twitter account, I use a probability proportional to size method, like in Randomized Dinner Planning, Weighted Exercise, and elsewhere as discussed on

Thanks for reading. Can you create your own weather buzzwords?

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