Hyped weather terms ‘polar vortex’ and ‘derecho’ added to AP Stylebook


June 29, 2012 Midwest-Ohio Valley derecho timeline. This derecho traveled 450 miles in 6 hours with an average speed of 75 mph. (Greg Carbin, SPC, modified by CWG)

The two weather terms you love to hate — polar vortex and derecho — were added to the stylebook this year. Unfortunately, most spell-checks still don’t recognize the word derecho. Who do we contact about that?

The AP Stylebook is the gold standard for grammar and punctuation in reporting. It’s how you know that the plural of Attorney General is Attorneys General, that the “tweets” on Twitter are lower case, and when to use the phrases “flash mob” or “Google Hangout” (which by the way, is not pluralized as “Googles Hangout”). It also, unfortunately for this author, doesn’t permit use of the Oxford comma. Don’t tell anyone, but I still use it.

This afternoon, @APStyleBook let science writer Seth Borenstein (@borenbears) take over the account for the weather edition of #APStyleChat. The stylebook is updated every year, and this year came with some new weather-related additions. We guarantee that some of these have been broken numerous times by CWG.

First, the new additions. Now that it’s official, we can use “polar vortex” and “derecho” liberally in our weather reporting, instead of holding back, as we obviously have been.

Contrary to popular belief, polar vortex was not invented by crazed media meteorologists yearning for clicks and viewers.

Jason just admitted to me that he doesn’t spell this with an “e.” He promises to remember it from now on!

This is another one we just talked about here at CWG this morning. Proper names!

On a similar vein — we totally agree with you, Seth.

This is one that I didn’t know. No accents? This will make all those El Nino articles much easier to write…

Ouch. Sorry, TWC.

And finally, a question from the peanut gallery.

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
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