Why Is The Weather Channel Going To Start Naming Winter Storms This Year?
We’ve all heard the names for tropical storms and hurricanes: Ike, Katrina, Issac, Andrew etc. Here in Colorado we never really have to worry about those “named” storms, but that is all changing in 2012, thanks to the Weather Channel. We could be bracing for “Winter Storm Nemo” or “Rocky The Blizzard” this year.
I can’t help but think that these new names will be better than names like”The Colorado Blizzard of ’03” that we use now, but I still wonder why are they naming these storms.
During the upcoming 2012-13 winter season The Weather Channel will name noteworthy winter storms. Our goal is to better communicate the threat and the timing of the significant impacts that accompany these events. The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation.
The Weather Channel released a list of names that could be used for storms in 2012 which includes the likes of; Rocky, Draco, Magnus, Nemo, Gandalf, Yogi, Zeus, Athena and Khan, to name a few.
Can I just say I really, really want a big winter storm to get the ‘Khan’ name? Only because I want live a Shatner-esque moment; kneeling on a 3-foot snowdrift blocking my driveway with my arms stretched to the heavens and shouting, “KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!”
But, I digress.
The weather channel says that winter storms are often a lot harder to predict, so they will be looking at a lot of variables before they name a storm, and said that no storm would be named less than 3 days before its estimated impact on populated areas. I think that translates to, “It’s our first time trying this, give us a break if something gets screwy.”
And I have a feeling there will be at least one storm named that turns out to be nothing. (Feel the wrath of the partly-sunny skies and mid-forty temps brought on by fierce winter storm Brutus!)
The Denver Post had a fairly scathing article about the move by the Weather Channel saying that the naming of the storms is just a cheap way to try and increase viewership and monetize national disasters. (Isn’t that what most media outlets do? Denver Post included?)
What makes this Weather Channel decision more about marketing than news is that it, as a ratings-generating television network, gets to set the parameters for what makes for a “name-worthy” winter storm. In essence, there is a profit motive in exclusively branding severe weather events that have the ability to destroy homes and claim lives.”
You can check out the Weather Channel’s video about naming storms and make your own judgement.
Maybe it is just a gimmick, but at least it will lessen the chances of local new outlets clinging on to cheesy names like “Snowmageddon” and “Snopocalypse” ever again.