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How does The Weather Channel Name Winter Storms?

Updated on June 19, 2017

Starting in the winter season of 2012-2013 the Weather Channel names winter storms. TWC started naming Winter storms because "a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation" explains Tom Niziol, a 30 year Weather expert and senior correspondent for The Weather Channel.

Since winter storms exist on relatively the same time scale as tropical systems, it's inevitable that winter storms be named. "Naming winter storms raises awareness" he explains. I agree with him. I live in New Hampshire, and it seems like all foul weather ends up in New England, eventually, and winter storm names help me keep track of which storm is which.

Our latest storm "Nika" just dumped 12 inches of snow where I live, and it was easier to follow "Nika" then to follow "another snow storm". You know what they say about New England? If you don't like the weather just give it 5 minutes.....

What's in a name?

So where do these winter storm names come from anyway? How does The Weather Channel name winter storms? Do the meteorologists at TWC hold some sort of raffle party? With names like 'Maximus' , 'Electra', and 'Kronos', I wonder if they had a toga party?

As it turns out, this winter's storm names are from students at Bozeman High School, in Bozeman Montana. It's actually an assignment in Latin class (aha!), and the names are mostly based on Greek and Roman mythology..

2013-2014 Winter Storm Names


Not everyone agrees with naming winter storms

The naming of winter storms is actually quite a controversial topic at the moment. Not everyone agrees with naming these storms. As of now, The Weather Channel is the only weather organization using names.

NOAH for example, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, disagrees with The Weather Channel, stating "Winter Storms are harder to define and determine where they start and where they may end" than traditionally named tropical storms.

Even The Weather Channels own Weather Underground has mixed responses. Some of the amateur meteorologists feel naming storms may add confusion and do more harm than good.

But according to Tom Niziol, naming these winter storms:

  • Raises awareness
  • Makes it easier to follow a storm's progress
  • Allows a storm to take on a personality of its own, raising awareness
  • Makes storms easier to reference (I can attest to that)
  • Are easier to remember and reference in the future

The last statement really makes sense to me. Rather than refer to "that storm back in 2012", we can specify a name. Trust me, if you live in New England, you see lots of storms, and if you asked someone about the winter storm in 2012, there immediate reply would be "Which one?".

Well, whether you agree or not, TWC owns its own broadcast, and named winter storms help ratings. Ratings keep them employed, so I don't see them giving up on the idea anytime soon. So now I'm wondering, where they will get the winter storm names for next year?

Do you think naming winter storms is a good idea?

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    • howlermunkey profile image

      Jeff Boettner 3 years ago from Tampa, FL

      Heya Fire8storm,

      Yep, had to look this one up, was driving me crazy. Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Fire8storm 3 years ago

      Ahh now this is something I have always wondered....and now you have answered my query - thank you!