Weather Channel To Name Winter Storms

By Alex Weprin 

Here in the U.S., the National Hurricane Center (Update: the World Meteorological Organization names them) names tropical storms and hurricanes. Those names help anthropomorphize the storms, making them seem more vicious, fitting considering how often are.

For the 2012-2013 season, Weather Channel has decided to take matters into its own hands, and will name winter storms. Why bother? The channel explains in a blog post:

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. As an example, hash tagging a storm based on its name will provide a one-stop shop to exchange all of the latest information on the impending high-impact weather system.

Of course, there is another reason: viewers tune into Weather Channel in droves when there is nasty weather, particularly hurricanes. Named winter storms could help drive that viewership even further. The network does great when generic snow storms slam the country, so headlines like “Winter Storm Draco Barrels Toward New York City” may drive tune-in even further.

You can see a video explaining the move here, and all of the 2012-2013 names (including “Gandolf,” “Magnus” and “Q”) here.