Naming winter storms is nothing new to Europeans, but here in North America, the only storms we’ve named have always been the tropical kind. This season, though, the National Weather Service (NWS) is slapping monikers on winter storms for the first time, as evidenced by this list of potentially noteworthy blizzards for this season.
What’s the point? Was winter feeling left out? According to the NWS, here’s why:
- 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.
They’ve come up with a list of fiery-sounding names, though. I don’t know where and when Athena and Brutus hit, but we’ve already had a taste of Caesar, albeit slight. Now Draco is drumming up notoriety this week as it builds frosty momentum out West, promising to bring snow to parts of the Upper Midwest this weekend. Since “draconian” means unusually severe or cruel, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that it’s snow and nothing else. If you’re wondering how they came up with these names, here are their origins:
Athena: The Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, inspirations, justice, mathematics and all things wonderful.
Brutus: Roman Senator and best known assassin of Julius Caesar.
Caesar: Title used by Roman and Byzantine emperors.
Draco: The first legislator of Athens in Ancient Greece.
Euclid: A mathematician in Ancient Greece, the father of geometry.
Freyr: A Norse god associated with fair weather, among other things.
Gandolf: A character in a 1896 fantasy novel in a pseudo-medieval countryside.
Helen: In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy was the daughter of Zeus.
Iago: Enemy of Othello in Shakespeare’s play, Othello.
Jove: The English name for Jupiter, the Roman god of light and sky.
Khan: Mongolian conqueror and emperor of the Mongol empire.
Luna: The divine embodiment of the moon in Roman mythology.
Magnus: The Father of Europe, Charlemagne the Great, in Latin: Carolus Magnus.
Nemo: A Greek boy’s name meaning "from the valley," means "nobody" in Latin.
Orko: The thunder god in Basque mythology.
Plato: Greek philosopher and mathematician, who was named by his wrestling coach.
Q: The Broadway Express subway line in New York City.
Rocky: A single mountain in the Rockies.
Saturn: Roman god of time, also the namesake of the planet Saturn in our solar system.
Triton: In Greek mythology, the messenger of the deep sea, son of Poseidon.
Ukko: In Finnish mythology, the god of the sky and weather.
Virgil: One of ancient Rome’s greatest poets.
Walda: Name from Old German meaning “ruler.”
Xerxes: The fourth king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Xerxes the Great.
Yogi: People who do yoga.
Zeus: In Greek mythology, the supreme ruler of Mount Olympus and the gods who lived there