Naming Nemo: How the Storm Got Its Name
ANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images
As the east coast of the U.S. braces for Nor'easter Nemo, what's the weather been like for other countries around the world? Here, a young girl is pictured with her dog and a pony as it snows near Warsaw, Poland on Feb. 7, 2013.
SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
Afghan motor-cyclists ride in front of the war-damaged Darlaman Palace in Kabul on Feb. 7, 2013.
Jan Kroslak/SME/isifa/Getty Images
A snow plow clears a road on Feb. 7, 2013, in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.
MATTHIAS HIEKEL/AFP/Getty Images
Snow covers the pavement in front of the Semperoper (Semper Opera House) in Dresden, eastern Germany, on Feb. 7, 2013.
SAJJAD QAYYUM/AFP/Getty Images
Pakistani Kashmiris walk through the snow in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir on Feb. 6, 2013.
KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images
Commuters shelter from the snow under umbrellas whilst on their way to work in Tokyo on February 6, 2013.
ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images
Indonesian people wade through a flooded main street in Jakarta on Feb. 6, 2013.
ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images
Indonesian motorists maneuver through a flooded main street in Jakarta on Feb. 6, 2013.
Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
A Kashmiri fisherman rows his boat during a sunny day at Dal Lake, on Feb. 6, 2013 in Srinagar, India.
PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
Cars stand still on a road after snowfalls on Feb. 6, 2013 in Essen, western Germany.
Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
A rickshaw puller trying to protect himself from showers with umbrella on Feb. 5, 2013 in Noida, India.
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.
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.
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:
“FISH ARE FRIENDS, NOT BLIZZARDS”
“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).