Now Winter Storms Will Get Names Too

on December 26 2012 11:22 PM
Brooklyn, NY, Snowstorm
Aftermath of a 2011 snowstorm in Brooklyn Flickr via Creative Commons/emilydickinsonridesabmx

Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Andrew, Tropical Storm Ernesto -- summer storms have been getting schoolchildren who share their names picked on for decades.

But winter storms have always gotten the cold shoulder of annoymity. Now The Weather Channel is planning to change that by giving winter storms names as well.

Expect names such as Euclid, Athena, Khan, Magnus, Freyr, Orko, Ukko, Walda, Draco, Rocky and Gandalf when The Weather Channel tracks winter storms for the 2012-2013 season. The Weather Channel will begin to name winter storms, it says, because names help raise awareness, make storms easier to track, easier to communicate on social media and easier to remember.

For all the reasons why tropical storms and hurricanes are named, argues the channel, so too should winter storms be named. According to TWC, hurricanes and tropical storms have been named since the 1940's. In Europe, winter storms have been named since the 1950's.

TWC argues that winter storms behave much like other summer and warm weather events. Winter storms, like the current Winter Storm Euclid, can be tracked and plotted over the period of time. Factors such as warm or cold weather fronts can be monitored and can predict how a winter storm will behave. Euclid, for example, originated in the Midwest and was tracked to the Northeast, across America.

Another reason, notes TWC, is that winter storms do not have their own weather center as part of the National Weather Service, such as the Storm Prediction Center or the National Hurricane Center. According to TWC, “We have the meteorological ability, support and technology to provide the same level of reporting for winter storms that we have done for years with tropical weather systems.”

The names of the winter storms that TWC has selected are quite diverse in their origins. Names such as Athena, Euclid, Helen, Plato, Triton, Zeus and Xerxes have origins in ancient Greece. Jove, Virgil, Magnus, Luna, Nemo and Saturn have their origins in ancient Rome. Iago, Brutus and Caesar are Shakespearean characters. Freyr is from Norse mythology while Ukko is from Estonian mythology.

Other winter storm names come from pop culture. Rocky and Draco are obviously named after characters from the “Rocky” series, Walda and Gandalf are from “The Lord of the Rings,” Orko refers to a character from the "Masters of the Universe” and Q and Khan are from “Star Trek.” Yogi could refer to Yogi Berra, Yogi the Bear or Hinduism or Buddhism.

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