CHICAGO (CBS) — He’s the Sultan of Stats and clever with words, too.
“We had the coldest January since the late 70s, the coldest February since the late ’70s,” says Richard Castro, meteorologist for the National Weather Service says.
Castro, known as Ricky around the office, can rattle off all kinds of stats about this bitter winter.
“Over 70 days with at least an inch of snow on the ground,” he says, by way of example.
However, it’s his hash tag on Twitter that will be in Chicago’s winter vocabulary forever.
The idea was sparked by a Facebook post that asked, “When did Chicago become Siberia?”
“It took a couple of days to marinade and on my way to work, I thought just, kinda, well … Chiberia,” Castro told CBS 2 Meteorologist Ed Curran.
That’s right, Castro coined the word, Chiberia.
“You don’t have to have a meteorology degree to know that Siberia is on of the coldest places on earth,” Castro said.
Combining Chicago and Siberia brought home the important safety message that this was no ordinary cold snap.
Some folks are making money off the name, such as selling “I survived Chiberia” sweatshirts.
Ricky hasn’t made a dime.
It doesn’t matter to him.
“I think it’s kind of cool to be a part of recent Chicago history in a way,” he said.
A search of Chiberia on Google returns an impressive 346,000 results.