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The Weather Channel to Begin Naming Winter Storms


Beginning this winter, The Weather Channel will begin naming what it calls “noteworthy winter storms.” As The Weather Channel explained on its website, “[a] storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation. In addition to providing information about significant winter storms by referring to them by name, the name itself will make communication and information sharing in the constantly expanding world of social media much easier.”

Unlike the National Hurricane Center -- which has named tropical storms and hurricanes since the 1940s -- the National Weather Service (NWS) does not name winter storms. “One of the reasons this may be true is that there is no national center, such as the National Hurricane Center, to coordinate and communicate information on a multi-state scale to cover such big events,” The Weather Channel’s website said. “The National Centers for Environmental Prediction’s Hydrologic Prediction Center does issue discussions and snowfall forecasts on a national scale, but it does not fill the same role as the NHC in naming storms. Historically, many major winter storms have been named during or after the event has occurred, such as ‘The President’s Day Storm’ and ‘Snowmageddon.’ Yet, until now, there has been no organized naming system for these storms before they impact population centers.” In Europe, forecasters have named winter storms since the 1950s, and many local television stations in the US name winter storms, as well.

According to The Weather Channel, a winter storm will only be given a name after a complete assessment of several variables, including snowfall, ice, wind and temperature, as well as taking into account the time of day (rush hour vs overnight) and the day of the week (weekday school and work travel vs weekends). The Weather Channel will only name a storm no more than three days before its anticipated impact.

For a list of names that The Weather Channel has selected for the upcoming winter storm season, please click here.




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