National Weather Service doing away with all caps


(WTHI) – You may notice changes to a few of your weather alerts soon. After more than 140 years, the National Weather Service (NWS) will gradually stop using all caps in their public statements.

The NWS is the government agency responsible for issuing watches, warnings, advisories, local outlooks, and special weather statements.

If you look closely and given watch or warning, it’s like the message is “shouted” at you in all caps.

“If I were to receive a message in all caps, I would think something crazy is going on,” explained WTHI Digital Media Manager Chris Essex. “I would stop what I’m doing and look at it and just be like ‘Wow this has to be important’.”

NWS Indianapolis Meteorologist Jason Puma says they plan to change that soon.

“I believe the main reason is just to get a little more up to date with the times,” explained Puma. “In the past, we’ve always used all caps, because it dates back to the teletype machines that was used to communicate early on back in the 50s, 60s, and so forth.”

On May 11th, the NWS will make their area forecast discussion and public information statements in mixed-case.

There are plans to make other alerts and products mixed-case too.

“We’ll then add a few more products, test those out, and eventually transition them all over a period of time,” said Puma. “It might take a year, it might take two years, it depends on how many bumps in the road we get.”

Puma tells us that some NWS meteorologists have been trying to change to mixed-case letters for several years.

We’ll just have to deal with the “noisily” worded warnings in the meantime.

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