It’s that time of year where winter sports enthusiasts are glued to the nightly weather forecasts in search of prodigious amounts of powder. And for six seasons now, the Weather Channel (TWC) has been naming winter storms in their forecasts. So what’s the point of naming blizzards? Was winter feeling outperformed by hurricane season? According to the Weather Channel, here’s why big storms carry monikers:
• 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.
Note that TWC, a media organization, came up with this name-calling business. The atmospheric science folks over at the National Weather Service did not create this practice. "The National Weather Service does not name winter storms because 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", claims a spokesperson.
Living here in the land of lake effect, that sentiment – “a winter storm’s impact can vary from one location to another” - certainly applies to our own winter weather. Snow can dump on Lake Ann while totally ignoring Onekama. Thompsonville can be buried in a blizzard while Traverse City sees the sun. But as The Weather Channel sees it, a storm gains naming notoriety if it impacts at least two million people and meets the NWS winter storm-warning criteria.
As we perch on the precipice of a winter storm warning in effect for this week, here are this year’s names to keep you in the know when you hear them on the news. According to TWC, this year’s names were pulled from a list of popular baby names - here are the origins of each one.
Aiden - From an Old Irish name meaning "fire."
Benji - Short for Benjamin, an old Hebrew name meaning "son of the south."
Chloe (KLO-ee) - From Greek, it is a reference to blooming or the young green shoot of a new plant.
Dylan - From Welsh words meaning "great tide."
Ethan - From a Hebrew name meaning "strong," "solid" or "firm."
Frankie - A nickname for Frank, Francis or Frances from the Germanic tribe the Franks.
Grayson - From the Middle English word that meant steward plus son.
Hunter - From the time when people in England were named for their work.
Inga - Related to the name of a people who lived on the North Sea called the Ingaevones.
Jaxon - From the son of Jack, which was a nickname for John in the Middle Ages.
Kalani - From the Hawaiian words meaning the plus heaven or sky.
Liam - From Irish, a short form of William, which comes from German.
Mateo (muh-TAY-o) - The Spanish form of Matthew, which is distantly derived from the Hebrew word for gift.
Noah - Derived from the Hebrew word meaning "rest."
Oliver - The English form of the French name Olivier.
Polly – This one’s named after my mom- a popular baby name in 1928.
Quinn - Derived from an Irish Gaelic word meaning "chief" or "counsel."
Riley - Derived from Reilly, which comes from the Old Irish name Raghailleach.
Skylar - A modified version of Tyler merged with the word sky.
Toby - Derived from Tobias, a name from old versions of the Bible.
Uma (OO-ma) - From multiple cultures including the Sanskrit word meaning "tranquility."
Violet - Originally from the name for the Latin name for the flower, viola.
Wilbur - Mr. Ed’s owner in the TV show about a talking horse.
Xanto - From the Ancient Greek name Xanthus meaning "blonde."
Yvonne (ee-VONN) - Related to a nickname for the Old French name Yves, which came from the name of a type of wood used to make bows.
Zoey - Derived from the Greek word for life