Thursday’s ‘Jeopardy!’ episode had a weather category, but meteorologists say the Daily Double was wrong

The clue mixed up a key detail about nor'easters, they say.

This satellite image taken around 12:12 a.m. EDT and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows clouds around the Northeast of the United States, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. A powerful nor'easter could bring blizzard conditions and more than a foot of snow from the mid-Atlantic to parts of the Northeast, and officials warn of potential beach erosion, possible coastal flooding and power outages from the late-season snowstorm. (NOAA via AP)
A satellite image of a nor'easter in 2017. –AP

“Jeopardy!” delved into the weather on Thursday night, and a clue involving nor’easters prompted local meteorologists to fact-check the game show on social media.

The episode’s Daily Double went like this: “In a 2-week period in 2018, the East Coast was walloped by 3 of these storms named for the direction from which they came.”  

Contestant Shanu George, from North Windham, Conn., answered “What is a polar vortex?,” which host Alex Trebek corrected with “Nor’easters.”

That’s when meteorologists took to Twitter to clarify. 

“Your weather daily double is incorrect,” Eric Walters tweeted at the game show. “Nor’easters are so named because the winds come from the Northeast — not because the storm comes from the Northeast.”

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“Indeed the question is categorically wrong,” meteorologist David Epstein confirmed, adding a visual to illustrate the point. “Nor’easters bring a wind from the Northeast. The storm itself usually comes up the coast from the South or redevelops moving in from the west.”

“My face is the same as this gentleman’s,” WBZ chief meteorologist Eric Fisher chimed in. “They’re named for the strong northeast winds they produce.”

A nor’easter, according to the National Weather Service, is a storm along the East Coast of North America that may occur at any time of the year and often develops between Georgia and New Jersey, or within 100 miles east or west of the East Coast. 

Nor’easters usually progress northeastward until they hit a maximum intensity near New England or the Maritime Provinces of Canada, according to the service.

A “Jeopardy!” spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

As the game finished out, George ranked second behind winner Veronica Vichit-Vadakan, a librarian from Portland, Ore. 

 

Correction: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story incorrectly identified Eric Fisher’s station affiliation. This story has been corrected. Boston.com regrets the error.

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