Depending on where you are in the country, spring is likely the process of springing, or hopefully will be shortly. Some view spring as a time to admire the beauty of nature. Others simply view it as the only time of year when it’s appropriate to wear pastels.

Whether you’re covering weather or gardening, we found some AP style terms to help you report on the activities of spring.

National Weather Service First reference, “weather service” on all subsequent mentions.

weatherman “Weather forecaster” is preferred.

Plant names are generally lowercase, but proper nouns or adjectives that occur in a name are capitalized.

“tree,” “fir,” “white fir,” “Douglas fir”
If a botanical name is used, capitalize the first word
“red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)”


severe thunderstorm Either describes surface winds sustained or gusts 58 mph or greater or surface hail 1 inch in diameter or larger.

AP stories prefers “botanical garden” to “botanic garden.”

weather vane

tornado “tornadoes” (plural)

tornado warning Issued by local weather service to warn of existing tornado.
tornado watch Alerts the public to the possibility of a tornado in the next several hours.


Bonus: Seasons and their derivatives are all lowercase unless part of a formal name: “Summer Olympics”

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