First Winter Storm Draco, now Winter Storm Nemo – the Weather Channel seems to have now permanently adopted the procedure of naming major winter storms in addition to hurricanes and cyclones.
The Weather Channel claims that naming storms can raise awareness of severe weather alerts, saving lives and minimizing disruption to infrastructure and daily life.
But not everyone is thrilled with the Weather Channel’s practice of naming every notable storm. Many meteorologists have described the practice as a self-serving promotional move.
As Andrew Freiden, a Richmond broadcast meteorologist, tweeted brusquely, “Weather Channel to name Winter Storms! First Thought: “Who died and made them King?!”
The National Weather Service (NWS), the official government organization in charge of tracking weather, has opted to decline the practice of naming winter storms, sending a memo to their staff asking them not to reference the Weather Channel’s designations for storms. According to NWS, unlike major storms such as hurricanes, winter storms are fluid and interchangeable with other weather patterns.
The NWS released a statement in early October, saying:
The National Weather Service has no opinion about private weather enterprise products and services. A winter storm's impact can vary from one location to another, and storms can weaken and redevelop, making it difficult to define where one ends and another begins. While the National Weather Service does not name winter storms, we do rate major winter storms after the fact.