The Weather Channel announced Tuesday its new naming system for winter storms, making it the first national organization in North America to proactively name winter storms.
In time for the start of the winter season, naming storms makes communications and information sharing easier, enabling consumers to better understand forecasts that couldsignificantly affect their lives.
"On a national scale, the most intense winter storms acquire a name through some aspect of pop culture and now, social media, for example Snowmaggeddon and Snotober," said Tom Niziol, winter weather expert for The Weather Channel Companies.
"Retrospectively naming lake effect storms has been a local success at The National Weather Service office in Buffalo, NY as well as with Weather Services throughout Europe and we believe it can be a useful tool on a national scale in the U.S."
The Weather Channel has the meteorological ability, support and technology to bring a more systematic approach to naming winter storms, similar to the way tropical storms have been named for years, staying true to its mission to keep the public safe and informed in times of severe-weather events.
During the winter months, many people are impacted by freezing temperatures, flooding and power outages, travel disruptions and other impacts caused by snow and ice storms. The new naming system will raise awareness and reduce the risks, danger, and confusion for consumers in the storms' paths.
A group of senior meteorologists chose the 26 names (one for each letter of the alphabet) on the 2012-2013 winter storm list. The only criteria: choose names that are not and have never been on any of the hurricane lists produced by the National Hurricane Center or National Weather Service.
Some of the names include Athena, Brutus, Ceasar, Draco, Freyr, Helen and Gandolf.
Naming will occur no more than three days prior to a winter storms expected impact to ensure there is strong confidence the system could have a significant effect on large populations.
In North America, only hurricanes, which are the biggest weather systems on the planet, have been proactively named using a system that has been effective in preparing consumers during the tropical season. The winter naming system will raise consumer awareness, which will lead to better planning and preparedness, resulting in less overall impact - in the same way that names for topical systems raise awareness.
Visit http://wxch.nl/SyPRDs for the complete 2012-2013 winter storm list.
The Weather Channel