Are you ready for Winter Storm Rocky?
A man in Silver Spring, Maryland, shovels snow to dig out his car after a blizzard in 2010.
October 2nd, 2012
01:23 PM ET

Are you ready for Winter Storm Rocky?

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.

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Filed under: TV • Weather • Winter weather
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. lroy

    My parents always said that people who complain about the rain gets the snow.

    October 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • lroy

      You mean like the Blizzard of 78? The Columbus Day storm? The Patriots Day Blizzard That Extended Car Sales For an Extra Week?

      October 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. wildone

    "And they called the wind Mariah."

    October 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. wildone

    Snow storms are nothing like when I was a kid. Why, one winter it snowed so much..........

    October 2, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. insanity

    "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" umm...excuse me, but I believe there is such an authority. they call it the National Weather Service. And in that authority exists the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) and the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). In case the weather channel forgot, SPC in Norman, OK, is the ONLY office that can officially issue severe storm and tornado watches. If they don't see a real need for it, then THERE ISN'T A NEED FOR NAMING WINTER STORMS! the weather channel is only trying to attract more viewers, not provide a public service, which in turn brings in more revenue from advertisers.

    October 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. joeymom

    What? They didn't like "Snowmageddon"?

    October 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Katie

    Do they have too many storms of the century already?

    October 2, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. @allthere

    Didn't bother me near as much as President Obama keeping FBI whistleblower Sibel D. Edmonds under federal gag orders NOT to speak the names of the men she both foreign and domestic who trafficked drugs, laundered money, and financed 9/11.
    Why wouldn't President Obama want her to speak? He's anti-Bush, right?

    October 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisu

      And this pertains to the article how??????

      October 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    When I was a Teenager in the early to mid 1960s for some reason the winters seemed much worse than today.
    I guess growing up in North Dakota you would expect that but where my son lives (New York) the recent winters are not that bad.I live down south now because the cold bothers me more now that I am in my 60s.

    October 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kris

    How stupid!

    October 2, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John Tucker

    The Weather Channel is doing it. Not NOAA.

    October 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    @Frank. I too recall school bus drivers putting chains on almost daily during wintertime here in Colorado Springs. Not any more. CS also, in 1974, built a very expensive propane facility whereby propane was mixed with natural gas to help keep us warm during our always frigid winters. The facility hasn't been used for about the past 20 years.
    There is a very simple explanation as to why our usual snowfall doesn't arrive anymore, Frank. (if you care to know)

    October 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Philip

    hint: it has nothing to do with global climate change, aka 'gobo warm warm'.
    It has to do with the rate at which water evaporates today compared with how long it took water to evaporate before the Industrial Revolution began pumping millions of cubic feet of pollution into our atmosphere over 100 years ago.

    October 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dudley

    Invent a symbol that cannot be pronounced and demand that people refer to the storms that way.

    Nah – been done.

    October 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    ...and there's a good reason why neither CNN nor FOX "experts" discuss pan-evap rates of the past 120 years. Though accurate measurements were kept and recorded and show that each year it takes water long and longer to evaporateOne camp, CNN, espouses the idea that global climate change is man made. The other camp, FOX, say it's all 'hogwash of the tree huggers'.
    When you consider that eveaporating water is the engine that drives weather (not climate) and the fact that pollution is shade over water, both camps look stupid.
    Precipitation that used to fall on our property now falls somewhere else, even into the ocean instead of on dry ground.
    This explains our increased droughts as well. For 3 straight years, Colorado has recieved less than 20% of our usual precipitation, thanks to slower pan-evap rates caused by pollution, NOT by 'gobo warm warm'. (cont)

    October 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dudley

    I believe the WC ought to begin numbering lightning strikes.

    Maybe they could name all the Gulf State's thunderstorms.

    Maybe the really, really BIG raindrops.

    October 2, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
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