The Weather Channel said Tuesday it would start naming winter storms the way the National Hurricane Center names tropical storms and hurricanes.
"This is where a world-class organization such as The Weather Channel will play a significant role," the channel said in announcing the move. "We have the meteorological ability, support and technology to provide the same level of reporting for winter storms that we have done for years with tropical weather systems."
Storms won't be named until three days before impact to make sure that they will actually produce significant effects on a populated area.
The channel gave a number of reasons for the decision, including that it would make it easier to communicate the "threat and timing" of such storms. It pointed out that winter storms do sometimes get names, but generally only after the fact, like "Snowmageddon" or "The President's Day Storm."
It pointed out that weather systems, including winter storms, have been named in Europe since the 1950s and that naming potentially life threatening storms 1) raises awareness; 2) makes it easier to follow its progress; 3) gives it a personality, "which adds to awareness"; 4) makes it easier to reference in social media; and 5) "might even be fun and entertaining."