Back in October 2012, everybody was poohooing The Weather Channel’s (TWC) plan to start giving names to significant winter storms. Now it looks like a large number of reports on the storm, dubbed Nemo by TWC, have adopted the name (not all, by any means, but lots, including Discovery News).

What happened? I’ll say it in three words: search engine optimization. Despite very reasonable arguments against the naming of winter storms by many meteorologists, we are seeing them adopted anyway.

DNEWS StormTracker: Follow the Winter Storm Here

I ran a quick Google check this morning on the use of the name Nemo versus other likely search terms and found the following:

“Nemo blizzard” = 21,700,000 hits

“NE Blizzard” = 9,520,000 hits

“New England Blizzard” = 4,210,000 hits

This is not the definitive way to measure the use of the name, but it does seem to suggest the naming has traction and is helping a lot of people look up information about the storm. Those meteorologists opposed to the naming will probably hold out, but there may be fall out in terms of how well their coverage does. Again, we will see. This could be a good test of TWC’s foray into storm naming.

NEWS: What’s a Nor’easter?

Another related matter is the choice of names given to this storm. It seems to have started a buzz of its own on Twitter. Ryan Miller (@RyanMillerABC7), meteorologist for ABC7 in the Washington, D.C. area, tweeted this morning: “Wondering if Disney attorneys have fired off letters to The Weather Channel re: improper use of #Nemo?”

Other notable tweets under the hashtag #nemo:


“Watch out for Nemo! And we don’t mean the clown fish”

“I FOUND NEMO!!!!!!!”

“We NE MO snow”

“And why do the worst storms have the wimpiest names? #Sandy #Nemo Shouldn’t it be #DirtyHarry or #Thor?”

Fun stuff, especially when you are facing the task of shoveling snow all weekend. But I find it a little sad that few people seem to have any pre-Disney knowledge of name Nemo. Doesn’t anyone remember Captain Nemo of “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” and “The Mysterious Island,” by Jules Verne (the latter book was the basis for the 2012 movie “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”)?

Hardly a wimpy character, and a worthy name for any storm.

Image: This image shows predicted snowfall from the winter storm. The yellow areas indicate more than two feet. The pink is more than 30 inches. (from the NOAA High resolution WRF Model).