This Winter, Brace Yourself for Gandolf the White (Winter Storm)
Snowmageddon paralyzes D.C. in 2010. Photo: Erik R. Trinidad
Ever wonder why hurricanes and tropical storms get proper first names like “Katrina” and “Isaac,” when powerful winter storms get monikers like “The Blizzard of [pick a year],” “Snowmageddon,” and “Snowpocalypse?” Well, all that is about to change this coming winter if The Weather Channel has anything to do with it.
For decades, tropical storms and hurricanes have been given names taken from pre-determined list voted upon by an international committee of meteorologists. (The Ghostbusters-inspired name “Gozer” is not on this list, much to my chagrin). However, the international storm naming community does not have a jurisdiction on winter storms, and so leave it to a corporate U.S.-based cable/satellite network and website to step up to the plate. The Weather Channel has decided to name winter storms each winter from now on, starting with the 2012-2013 season. The names are as follows:
Sure, this makes it easy for The Weather Channel to build up the drama and package graphics under one name for each storm, but it’s not just a gimmick. Just as the reasoning for why hurricanes are named, naming winter storms will raise awareness of the potential danger of a storm, plus it will serve as a better reference in the meteorological history books. Whether or not the winter storm names dubbed by an American cable/satellite network/website will catch on with competing weathermen desks worldwide has yet to be determined, however, I’m confident The Weather Channel has enough clout in society to make their winter storm names stick like big snowflakes on a windshield when it’s cold enough to start accumulating.
Now, can we please get a Winter Storm Gozer in 2013-14?