Greensboro, NC -- On Tuesday the Weather Channel announced that for the 2012-2013 winter season they will now give major winter storms names.
The idea to name winter storms is similar to the naming convention already in place for tropical systems. The Weather Channel says that it is their goal to better communicate the threat and timing of significant impacts that accompany these events.
The Weather Channel is a private entity and does not reflect or dictate the overall convention across all meteorological and media outlets. The naming of storms will be performed solely by The Weather Channel and its affiliates.
The guidelines that will be used to determine if a winter storm will receive a name is still a little unclear. The Weather Channel states that the process, "...will reflect a more complete assessment of several variables that combine to produce disruptive impacts including snowfall, ice, wind and temperatures". They continue to say that factors such as time of day, day of the week and location will also be taken into consideration when naming these storms.
The Weather Channel admits that this process does possess an element of subjectivity, and that is where the comparison to tropical systems acquiring names begins to stray. Tropical cyclones acquire names based upon well-defined and consistent atmospheric conditions. A tropical system does not become a 'named' tropical storm until winds within the storm have reached, or are estimated to have reached, 39 mph.
This effort to name winter storms will likely remain an individual effort of The Weather Channel in the United States unless governing bodies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the World Meteorological Organization find a clear set of parameters that are consistent across the board.
WFMY News 2 will continue to cover and forecast winter weather events as it has in the past with a focus on providing you with the most accurate forecast on television and online at digtriad.com.