Monday, November 10, 2014

Astro + the return of winter storm season

The 2014-2105 winter storm season has now officially begun (shudder) with Winter Storm Astro hammering the upper Midwest with snow -- and causing highway and school closings.

Hearing this news this morning, two questions immediately came to mind: 1) OMG winter already? And 2) Winter Storm Astro? Who names a snow storm Astro (the name of The Jestsons' beloved, goofy Great Dane)?


The answer to the first question is apparently "yes." The answer to the latter, the same people who brought you Winter Storm Nemo. That is, The Weather Channel.

Personally, I do not have a problem naming winter storms. I agree with The Weather Channel that it makes it easier to talk about something when you give a name to it. And we name hurricanes (and typhoons), so why not big, nasty snow storms?

But if you are going to give something big and scary and shivers-inducing a name, the name should likewise be big and scary and shivers-inducing. It should be imposing. It should connote strength. It should make you fearful. In other words, it should not be named Nemo, or Astro, or Linus.

Of course, not all of this season's winter storms have unimposing names, as you can see:

 I think Frona, Gorgon, Hektor, Juno, Neptune, Pandora, Quantum, Sparta, Thor, and Zelus are perfectly fine names for a winter storm.

[And this just in: The Weather Channel has named this season's W storm Wolf. I know you are as excited about that as I was.]

But Linus? 

I don't know about all of you, or the folks over at The Weather Channel, but when I hear or see the name Linus, I don't think "Quick! Run to Home Depot and Stop & Stop and stock up! There's a ferocious winter storm coming!" I just envision a kid sucking his thumb, clutching a blankie. (Of course, if Winter Storm Linus turns out to be a wet blanket, then the storm will have been appropriately named.)

Lucy would have been a far better choice. Just ask Charlie Brown.

And Venus? The goddess of love and beauty? Sure, that first snowfall can be beautiful. But unless you are a skier or plow snow for a living, there is nothing lovely or beautiful about a foot of snow and being trapped indoors for days. Especially if it's the twenty-second time in a few months.

So, what do you all think of naming snow storms? Good idea or bad? And what do you think of this year's crop of winter storm names? 

1 comment:

Dave S. said...

I am against the naming of winter storms and would like those punk meteorologists to get off my lawn.

As destructive as winter storms can be, they are nothing next to tropical storms, which is why they are named.

Have to disagree on the name-matches-the-emotions format; the last thing you want in the face of any storm is panic and assigning a big scary name will do just that. Note the use of regular ol' names for tropical storms. (Interesting aside on that link about retiring certain names for pretty much the same reason. "Oh crap, here comes Agnes again.")