The Weather Channel wants viewers to be on a first-name basis with the foulest of winter weather. The cable channel announced Tuesday that it will give names to the worst winter storms much like the National Hurricane Center does for tropical storms.
“Naming winter storms will raise awareness, which will lead to more pro-active efforts to plan ahead, resulting in less impact on the public overall,” Tom Niziol, the Weather Channel's winter weather expert, said on the channel's website.
Niziol wrote that winter storms are commonly given names in Europe, but he said that the lack of a single authority over winter storms in the United States, like the hurricane center is the central authority on tropical storms, is one reason why the winter blasts are not named.
That's where the Weather Channel thought it could step in, Niziol wrote.
"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," he wrote.
The Weather Channel said it hopes other meteorological agencies will buy into the naming plan.
Naming winter storms will also make it easier to provide info about them in the age of social media, Niziol said.
"On the occasion that different storms are affecting separate parts of the country, naming storms will allow for clearer communications," he said.
So what names will we see for the winter of 2012-2013? Well, let's just say the Weather Channel is going Greek, at least partly.
Athena tops the A-to-Z list with Zeus at the end. In between are Triton, Draco, Plato and Euclid.
But the list does bring names into modern times.
One winter storm could be named "Q" – that's it, just Q – after the New York subway line.
Another could be named Rocky, after one of the mountains, not the movie.
What name the storm gets will be determined by factors, including the day and time it hits as well as the ice, snow, wind and temperatures it produces, Niziol said.
And the names should be better than the monikers informally bestowed upon winter weather now, such as "Snowmageddon" or "The President's Day Storm," Niziol said.