20 Aug 2014
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Why Do Snowstorms Have Names Now?

Not all meteorologists accept the name game, or acknowledge this storm as Nemo. Or Charlotte.

Why Do Snowstorms Have Names Now?

You've probably heard occasional—but perhaps not frequent—references to this winter storm as "Nemo."

While it makes for some good jokes about that cute little orange fish, Nemo is not the brainchild of the Disney Corporation, but rather, a pre-determined name The Weather Channel gave to this latest storm.

To add to the confusion, some public officials have been referring to the storm as Charlotte, the name given to it by WFSB, Hartford's CBS affiliate. (WFSB has been naming winter storms since the early 1970s, it said in a video explaining the naming convention, and since the station only names Connecticut storms it's only up to the third letter in the alphabet.)

If you missed it: The Weather Channel in November announced it would name "noteworthy winter storms" in the 2012-2013 winter season.

Sure, snowstorms have been informally named after the fact (remember Snowtober?) This is the first season, however, that The Weather Channel is naming them as it does hurricanes and tropical storms.

The rationale? According to the Weather Channel, names raise awareness, make it easier to follow a weather system's progress, a storm with a name "takes a personality all of its own," and names make it easier to reference in social media.

The Weather Channel's naming decision hasn't been accepted by some of its meteorological counterparts, however. AccuWeather, for one, declared that "in unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, The Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety." 

The National Weather Service also doesn't name winter storms. Patch has also decided not to refer to the storm by name.

What do you think? To name or not to name? Add your thoughts in the comments!

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