WHAT'S THAT YOU SAY? U.S. weather agency stops 'yelling' with capitalization shift

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 12, 2016 4:55 PM

By Gina Cherelus

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. National Weather Service had some news this week for readers who have grown up on social media, namely: THE AGENCY WILL STOP SHOUTING AT YOU NOW.

Its forecasts have been published in all capital letters since the mid-1800s, when they were transmitted by telegraph. The style looks archaic in a world where social media users interpret all-upper-case messages as shouting.

"LISTEN UP! BEGINNING ON MAY 11, NOAA'S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECASTS WILL STOP YELLING AT YOU," the agency, which provides warnings on blizzards, hurricanes and other major weather events said in a statement posted online on Monday.

The NWS, a unit of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said it had been considering the change for two decades. It waited for users to phase out all old equipment that only worked with the capitalized style.

"People are accustomed to reading forecasts in upper case letters and seeing mixed-case use might seem strange at first," said NWS meteorologist Art Thomas. "It seemed strange to me until I got used to it over the course of testing the new system, but now it seems so normal."

Although the majority of its products will switch over to mixed-case characters, forecasters will still have the option to use upper-case letters in certain reports to emphasize threatening and dangerous weather situations.

On Twitter, many users showed support for the new update.

"SO PUMPED," tweeted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (@fema) on Monday.

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus; Editing by Scott Malone and Cynthia Osterman)