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US Weather Service to Abandon Only-capital-letter Forecasts

  • VOA News

FILE - This May 10, 2015 NOAA satellite photo shows Tropical Storm Ana (R) off the Carolinas. Ana made landfall on the US southeastern coast risking flooding, high winds and life-threatening tides in the region.

FILE - This May 10, 2015 NOAA satellite photo shows Tropical Storm Ana (R) off the Carolinas. Ana made landfall on the US southeastern coast risking flooding, high winds and life-threatening tides in the region.

For over 100 years, Americans have read weather reports from the National Weather Service in all capital letters.

But that is about to change, thanks to the Internet, where text in capitals is considered annoying, the equivalent of SHOUTING in a conversation.

Starting on May 11, the NWS will issue most weather forecasts with uppercase and lowercase letters. All caps will be reserved for emergency situations, such as flood or tornado warnings.

All caps had been the standard format for the National Weather Service ever since they were first issued by telegraph signals in 1849, according to The Associated Press. When forecasts shifted to Teletype delivery, all caps remained the standard.

NWS flirted with changing its format 20 years ago, but found that outdated receiving equipment in some location could not handle lowercase letters.

All caps usage is considered acceptable on the World Wide Web if it is used to emphasize individual words, or words that should be accented in a rhyme. The variety of all caps usage that is frowned on "indicates the writer thinks nearly everything spewing from his mouth is of utmost importance," according to UrbanDictionary.com, which collects and lists changing or informal language styles.

Urban Dictionary says the unwelcome form of all caps often is accompanied with with excessive exclamation points.

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