Pat Shingleton: "Buying A Storm"
Last year the Weather Channel decided to name winter storms. A few hundred bucks, payable to the Free University of Berlin can put your name on a storm. F.U.'s Institute of Meteorology began the program to fund manned observations at the university's weather station. Their observations stretch back to 1701 and the Berlin-Dahlem station maintains one of the oldest uninterrupted climate gathering locations in the world. Budget cuts reduced manned observations from 24 hours-per-day to eight hours. Meteorology students filled the other 16 hours by selling rights to name a storm. References to named high and low pressure systems over Europe started in 1954. Storm names are sold for 199 to 299 Euros. After the storm passes buyers get a certificate.