by Hollie McAfee

Just a week after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast, I started hearing the name “Athena” in the forecast.  I thought, “Not another hurricane!”  But, Athena is actually a snowstorm, the first that I’ve noticed has a human name.

My curiosity about this led me to an article on weather.com.  The Weather Channel has brilliantly taken the step to name winter storms, for the following reasons:

  • Naming a storm raises awareness.
  • Attaching a name makes it much easier to follow a weather system’s progress.
  • A storm with a name takes on a personality all its own, which adds to awareness.
  • In today’s social media world, a name makes it much easier to reference in communication.
  • A named storm is easier to remember and refer to in the future.

The Weather Channel has provided a list of storm names ready to go during the upcoming winter season.  One storm for each letter of the alphabet.  I am particularly anxious to get hit by a storm named Gandolf, as my mind’s eye sees a terrible gray force shouting, “You shall not pass!”  We might want to prepare for that one.

After this winter, instead of reminiscing about the “1998 Ice Storm, you know, the one where we lost power for days and Houlton’s ice arena collapsed,” we can say, “How about the wrath of Khan?” or “Yogi really wasn’t as much of a threat as he seemed, was he?”

This could add some fun to a long winter!