Leave it to TV types to come up with snowmanclature.
Cloud oglers at the Weather Channel announced Tuesday that beginning this year, meteorologists there will begin naming major U.S. winter storms like federal weather officials name hurricanes.
Call me crazy, but the idea didn’t exactly blow me over. In fact, “why” comes to mind now and even after reading their press release.
I get the logic behind naming hurricanes, which are the biggest storms on the planet. For one thing, they last a long time. But even giant winter-weather systems are relatively fleeting and variable as they make their way across the country.
It appears, according to Weather Channel officials, there is a real need for names for winter weather.
“On a national scale, the most intense winter storms acquire a name through some aspect of pop culture and now, social media, for example Snowmaggeddon and Snotober,” said Tom Niziol, winter weather expert for The Weather Channel Companies. “We believe it can be a useful tool on a national scale in the U.S.”
If you don’t speak Weather Channel, they’re saying that storms with names make it easier to remember that it’s going to snow, and that you have to go to work early so to avoid all the idiots on the road that don’t care what the snow is called, no matter what it’s called.
Since no one else cares, Weather Channel folks are making up their own rules about the winter-storm-naming conventions. Rule No. 1: You can’t use a name that has ever been used on a hurricane naming list. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard just about every name ever on one hurricane list or another. So what does that leave?
These: Athena, Brutus, Caesar,Draco, Euclid, Freyr, Gandol, Helen, Iago, Jove, Khan, Luna, Magnus, Nemo, Orko, Plato, Q (The Broadway Express subway line in New York City), Rocky, Saturn, Triton, Ukko, Virgil, Walda, Xerxes (really?), Yogi and Zeus.
So here’s the problem, hurricanes are easy to name because they’re called, “Hurricane Harold,” or whatever. But winter storms are called all kinds of things. Blizzards, Big Storm, Dangerous Storm, Snow. None of those words work well before a name. “Here comes Big Winter Storm Ukko.” That’s just dumb. “Here comes Cold Canadian Air Mass Orko.” Also stupid.
If the Weather Channel is hell-bent on naming snow storms, and it seems they are, they are weather folks, you know, then come up with something that says, “snow, ice, freeze and calling in sick.”
Nobody feels more strongly about snow than obsessed skiers, and only Native Alaskan Eskimos have more names for the beloved white stuff. We should look to those on the huck for names. Nobody above 5,000 feet actually calls it a “winter storm.” You gotta say, “Duuuuuuuuude. It’s gonnna dump. We’re gonna eat freshies in the ‘mornin’.”
So, we call them “dumps.”
“Weather Service officials are warning Front Range residents that Nemo is expected to dump everywhere and deeply before tomorrow’s rush hour.”
Yeah. Nemo doesn’t work for me, either.
Instead of dorky names that will never see the light of day on any real weather list, name the storms after ski runs.
“Get ready, Aurora, Executioner is set to do the Dump of the Damned through tomorrow afternoon. Don’t expect the white room we got when Over The Rainbow piled the pow last month, but do count on raging snot-sicles like we haven’t seen in these parts since Dragon Fart blew through. If we get some rays, it’s gonna be gnar chicken heads and death cookies. Perfect conditions for screaming star fish in the parking lots.”
Now that’s going to get some attention, and it’s meaningful to those wondering weather to don disco sticks or the new lunch tray.
Here’s Weather Channel’s version of the whole thing:
The Weather Channel announced today its new naming system for winter storms, making it the first national organization in North America to proactively name winter storms. In time for the start of the winter season, naming storms makes communications and information sharing easier, enabling consumers to better understand forecasts that could significantly affect their lives.
“On a national scale, the most intense winter storms acquire a name through some aspect of pop culture and now, social media, for example Snowmaggeddon and Snotober,” said Tom Niziol, winter weather expert for The Weather Channel Companies. “Retrospectively naming lake effect storms has been a local success at The National Weather Service office in Buffalo, NY as well as with Weather Services throughout Europe and we believe it can be a useful tool on a national scale in the U.S.”
The Weather Channel has the meteorological ability, support and technology to bring a more systematic approach to naming winter storms, similar to the way tropical storms have been named for years, staying true to its mission to keep the public safe and informed in times of severe-weather events. During the winter months, many people are impacted by freezing temperatures, flooding and power outages, travel disruptions and other impacts caused by snow and ice storms. The new naming system will raise awareness and reduce the risks, danger, and confusion for consumers in the storms’ paths.
A group of senior meteorologists chose the 26 names (one for each letter of the alphabet) on the 2012-2013 winter storm list. The only criteria: choose names that are not and have never been on any of the hurricane lists produced by the National Hurricane Center or National Weather Service. Naming will occur no more than three days prior to a winter storms expected impact to ensure there is strong confidence the system could have a significant effect on large populations.
In North America, only hurricanes, which are the biggest weather systems on the planet, have been proactively named using a system that has been effective in preparing consumers during the tropical season. The winter naming system will raise consumer awareness, which will lead to better planning and preparedness, resulting in less overall impact – in the same way that names for topical systems raise awareness.
Visit http://wxch.nl/SyPRDs for the complete 2012-2013 winter storm list.
About The Weather Channel Companies
The Weather Channel companies (TWCC) are made up of The Weather Channel® television network; The Weather Channel digital properties; Weather Underground; and WSI and Weather Central, which make up its professional division. The Weather Channel is based in Atlanta and is seen in more than 100 million U.S. households. TWCC also operates Weatherscan®, a 24-hour all-local weather network and The Weather Channel Radio Network. The most popular source of weather news and information, TWCC properties reach 60 million monthly Web consumers (weather.com and Desktop) and 30 million monthly mobile users (mobile Web and applications) and offers the second most popular mobile app on all smartphones. WSI, headquartered in Andover, MA, and Weather Central, headquartered in Madison, WI, provide professional weather services, particularly for the media, aviation, marine and energy sectors. Online weather service Weather Underground is based in Ann Arbor, MI, and San Francisco, and has developed the world’s largest network of personal weather stations. TWCC is owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. For more information, visit www.weather.com/press.