Major U.S. Winter Storms to get names

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:50 PM GMT on October 02, 2012

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October is here, and its time to start thinking about how the coming winter's storm might compare to mighty blizzards of years past. Do you remember the North American blizzard of February 4, 2010? No? Well, do you remember Snowmageddon, the massive February 2010 Nor'easter that dumped up to 38" of snow in the mid-Atlantic, and killed 41 people? The two storms are the same, but having a simple name for the snowstorm like "Snowmageddon" helps us identify and remember the impacts of the storm. Naming a major winter storm makes even more sense if it is done before the storm hits, to aid in raising awareness of the storm, and to reduce the risks the public faces. That's exactly what The Weather Channel is going to do for the U.S. this winter, they announced in a press release today. A group of senior meteorologists at The Weather Channel chose 26 names for the upcoming winter of 2012 - 2013. The only criteria was to select names that are not and have never been on any of the hurricane lists produced by the National Hurricane Center or National Weather Service. Naming of a winter storm will occur no earlier than three days prior to it hitting, to ensure there is strong confidence that the system could have significant impact on large populations. There is no national center for monitoring winter storms like we have for hurricanes with the National Hurricane Center, so I think it makes sense for The Weather Channel to take this step.


Figure 1. Snowmageddon in Maryland: February 4, 2010. Image credit: wunderphotographer chills.

U.S. winter storm names for winter of 2012 - 2013
Athena -- The Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, inspirations, justice, mathematics and all things wonderful

Brutus -- Roman Senator and best known assassin of Julius
Caesar -- Title used by Roman and Byzantine Emperors 

Draco -- The first legislator of Athens in Ancient
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.

Kahn -- 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, among other things who had a planet named after him

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

I expect that this year The Weather Channel will be pretty conservative about assigning names, and only the very strongest winter storms will get named. For the eastern 2/3 of the country, storms that receive a ranking of "notable" or higher on NOAA's Regional Snowfall Index (RSI) or Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS) are the only ones fairly certain to get named this winter. We only had one such storm during the winter of 2011 - 2012 (Snowtober, on October 29 - 31, 2011.) Thus, if we have another wimpy winter like last winter, we probably won't get to see the Wrath of Khan.

Naming of Winter Storms in Europe
Various organizations in Europe have been naming their winter storms since 1954, and the public has reacted positively to this practice. The names given by the Free University of Berlin are the most widely used, and have been in existence since 1954. Their meteorologists traditionally name all lows and highs that influence the Central European weather. In November 2002, the Free University began an Adopt-a-Vortex scheme, which allows anyone to buy a storm name. The money raised is used by the meteorology department to maintain weather observations at the university. Over 1,800 participants from 15 European countries plus Brazil, Japan and the United States have participated. So far in 2012, 90 European low pressure systems have been given names.


Figure 2. A huge wave from Winter Storm Klaus rolls into Santander, Spain, in this wunderphoto taken by wunderphotographer lunada on January 24, 2009. Klaus had a central pressure of 967 mb at its peak on the morning of January 24, and brought sustained winds of 59 mph, gusting to 81 mph, to Santander. Wind gusts as high as 124 mph (199 km/hr) occurred along the northern coast of Spain, and the storm killed at least 26 people in Spain, France, and Italy.

Naming of Lake Effect Winter Storms by NWS Buffalo
Tom Niziol, The Weather Channel's winter storm expert, was meteorologist-in-charge of the Buffalo, New York NWS office until January 2012. He tells me that for over ten years, the Buffalo NWS has been naming lake-effect storms. This was done only after the event occurred, to avoid any confusion, but was very popular with users. The names were chosen on a yearly basis by having the office staff vote for one of several themes--such as insects, heavenly bodies, famous scientists, minerals, Native American tribes, etc. Last winter, eight storms were named after breeds of cows (?!), as seen at the NWS Buffalo Lake Effect web page. I was not asked to contribute to this year's list of U.S. winter storms, but will lobby for next year's list of names to be taken from famous monsters--Rodan, Ghidorah, Nessie, Kong, Bunnicula, etc.


Figure 3. The most significant lake-effect snow storm of the winter of 2011 - 2012 was named Lake Effect Storm Evolene by the NWS office in Buffalo, New York. Image credit: NWS Buffalo Lake Effect web page.

Nadine
The Methuselah of Atlantic tropical storms, Tropical Storm Nadine, is slowly weakening over cool 22 - 24°C waters. Nadine will have accumulated 20 days as a tropical cyclone later today, but the end is in sight. Wind shear will rise to 30 knots and ocean temperatures will drop to 20°C by Thursday, which should cause Nadine to transition to an extratropical storm as it passes by the northern Azores Islands on Thursday and Friday.

96L off the coast of Africa no threat to land
A tropical wave that emerged off the coast of Africa over the weekend (Invest 96L) has a moderate amount of spin and a large area of heavy thunderstorms that is growing more organized. The storm is located about 925 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, and is headed northwest at 10 - 15 mph. Wind shear is a moderate 10 knots, and is predicted to remain light to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, through Friday. The atmosphere surrounding 96L is fairly moist, and the disturbance does have a good degree of model support for becoming a tropical depression by late in the week. In their 8 am EDT Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 96L a 70% chance of becoming a tropical depression by Thursday morning. 96L is likely to get pulled northwards by a large trough of low pressure over the Central Atlantic late this week, and should not be a threat to the Lesser Antilles Islands.

Jeff Masters

Hubby Tries to Clear the Snow. (Proserpina)
Hubby tried to use the snow-blower to clear the snow, unfortunately for him the snow is too deep for the snow-blower. The shovel and his arms will have to do the job.
Hubby Tries to Clear the Snow.
Blizzard 2010 (TonyInDC)
Blizzard  2010

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Quoting Neapolitan:
It seems to be the opinion of some people that any discussion at all of extreme weather events is somehow part of a "climate change agenda". Aside from the simple fact that that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, such an attitude has always struck me as unnecessarily mean-spirited as well as uninformed. The thing is, how is a weather forecasting company's appelative desires in any way remotely indicative of any institutional agenda, climate change or otherwise?


I suggest that in the future, you post the entire quote you are attacking so as not to mislead someone who has not actually read the entire quote. By the way, the bell is ringing, you need to get back to class to teach your next lesson.
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Quoting kwgirl:
Good morning all. The name has to be pronouncable by their annoucers. Quetzalcoatl is hard to pronounce and even harder to spell!


QACHA - girl
QADAN - unisex
QADR - girl
QAMAR - boy
QAMRA - girl
QAYS - boy
QIANA - girl
QIAO - unisex
QIMAT - girl
QING - girl
QING YUAN - unisex
QISMAH - girl
QUADE - boy
QUANA - boy
QUANDA - girl
QUANG - boy
QUANT - unisex
QUASAR - girl
QUASIM - boy
QUEENIE - girl
QUENBY - unisx
QUENNELL - unisex
QUENTIN - boy
QUERIDA - girl
QUESTA - girl
QUETZALXOCHITL - girl
QUIANA - girl
QUILLA - girl
QUILLAN - unisex
QUIN - unisex
QUINCY - unisex
QUINLAN - unisex
QUINN - unisex
QUINTA - girl
QUINTANA - girl
QUINTESSA - girl
QUINTIN - boy
QUINTO - boy
QUIQUI - boy
QUIRTSQUIP - unisex
QUITO - boy
QUYNH - girl
QWARA - girl
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15985
Quoting AussieStorm:
Winter Storm "Canada" because they'll blame Canada anyways!

Winter Storm "Overhyped" because they generally are.

Winter Storm Romo: Forecasted to hit Dallas but ends up in Chicago

Winter Storm Jersey. So every Meteorologist can say, "We have a Situation."

Winter Storm Bieber - it's going to be really annoying and won't go away.

From here.


Could name a real tough one Chuck after Chuck Norris ...
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Winter Storm Nickelback: Came from Canada and no one wants it
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15985
Quoting Thing342:
I'm surprised that they couldn't find a better name than 'Q'.
Good morning all. The name has to be pronouncable by their annoucers. Quetzalcoatl is hard to pronounce and even harder to spell!
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Round 2?
From WWAY
A dry slot of sorts in SC could lead to storm formation just after lunchtime. Will watch for possible #severe.

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omg look at how moist the whole entire atlantic is... If anything gets going in the Caribbean it's going to expload. So much moisture to tap into.
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Quoting wxmod:
China, center, looks like the smoking ruins of civilization. MODIS satellite photo.




If you think it looks bad, you should see, smell and feel it in person! Spent a total of 30 weeks there over the course of 5 work trips and you would not believe the air and water pollution visible to the naked eye, especially in the the more industrial areas. Cheap labor is not the only reason everything you buy comes form China, environmental concerns do not exist there. Yet we as a country continue to allow unabated free trade with them! Both sides of the political spectrum are guilty of allowing this! Not only does it hurt our economy, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, the satellite photo speaks for itself!
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Winter Storm "Canada" because they'll blame Canada anyways!

Winter Storm "Overhyped" because they generally are.

Winter Storm Romo: Forecasted to hit Dallas but ends up in Chicago

Winter Storm Jersey. So every Meteorologist can say, "We have a Situation."

Winter Storm Bieber - it's going to be really annoying and won't go away.

From here.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15985
Winter Storm Al Gore... will never happen because it will never snow again & we'll all just die from 135 degree heat.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15985
Winter Storm Yoda - prepare or prepare not; there is no try.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15985
I can't wait till I get to see a meteorologist on TWC reporting on KAAHHHHNNN!
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Quoting 12george1:

Where did you find that? It is not here in this archive.


From here.




Count them I did.
00:00Z September 6 to 06:00Z October 3 (28.5days) as a TD, TS, HU, TS, TD. 06:00Z October 3 to 06:00Z October 5 as an Ex...

4 Advisories a day. 28.5 days x 4 = 114 advisories. 9 advisories as an Ex, which makes 123 advisories.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15985
China, center, looks like the smoking ruins of civilization. MODIS satellite photo.

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Quoting TomballTXPride:


Exactly. That's why it's all relative. 3 inches would paralyze Atlanta, GA or Charleston, SC, and would definitely be a big headliner. On the other hand, 3 inches in Chicago is characteristic of an "Alberta Clipper" type system, of which the Windy City typically sees 3 or 4 times in a winter season. Certainly no big deal for them.

Quoting Thing342:
3-6 inches, heck, even a inch, south of the Mason-Dixon line is enough to stop the presses.


Really? I live just south of the Mason Dixon, and we don't even call out the plow trucks unless we have 4 inches. In the winter of 2009-10, Terra Alta WV got over 10 FEET of snow- granted, that was from 2 storms. It's all relative. As for naming winter storms, if it raises awareness and saves one life, I'm all for it.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Twonder about possible charges of sexism with the current name list, as just three of the names--Athena, Helen, and Luna--are female. Seems to me that if anything, that will be a sticking point for some.)


Old man winter.
Member Since: July 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1183
Quoting TomballTXPride:


Exactly. That's why it's all relative. 3 inches would paralyze Atlanta, GA or Charleston, SC, and would definitely be a big headliner. On the other hand, 3 inches in Chicago is characteristic of an "Alberta Clipper" type system, of which the Windy City typically sees 3 or 4 times in a winter season. Certainly no big deal for them.


An inch or two shuts down the Austin area here when it happens but the 8 inch tall snowmen that the kids around here build are pretty cool.
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Something seems to be cooking east of the Yucatan Peninsula,maybe a ULL trying to go to the surface,this area is prime for development this time of the year,the swirl looks very impressive in the rainbow loop of the Gulf of Mexico,any thoughts about this feature?maybe the start of something in the western Caribbean?.
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I say phooey if, as seems to be indicated in this blog and TWC press release/article, these names are reserved for snow storms in the eastern part of the U.S.

What about a storm like this one and the many that have rolled into the PacNW since?

What about the super-low that hit Nome and areas around Norton Sound in November 2011? What about a severe ice storm on the Plains? Do these deserve names?

Maybe not, because...
not hitting a major metro area?
not enough destruction that insurance companies need help identifying storm-specific loss?

Would make more sense if the criteria were entirely meteorologic. Not geographic, i.e. how much snow's gonna fall on (insert city name). But then, I am someone who nicknames long-tracking tornadoes.
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Quoting ncstorm:


Yeah but realistically though, my news guy isnt going to come on the 6:00 news and say Zeus is going to dump 15 inches of snow..How I look telling my neighbor who dosent watch TWC that Luna is heading our way..he may call the white paddy truck on me..


LOL ... Now thats just too funny!!
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The @weatherchannel just announced it will start naming winter storms..the twitter response is a must-see! Check out #RejectedTWCNames
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15985
Quoting TomballTXPride:


Exactly. That's why it's all relative. 3 inches would paralyze Atlanta, GA or Charleston, SC, and would definitely be a big headliner. On the other hand, 3 inches in Chicago is characteristic of an "Alberta Clipper" type system, of which the Windy City typically sees 3 or 4 times in a winter season. Certainly no big deal for them.
and what about icy storms? Ice is a real killer in the Southeast sometimes.
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This is ridiculous and stupid. This is just another way for the weather channel to sensationalize their broadcasts of the weather.

I really wish the Weather Channel would go back to broadcasting weather information and not messing around with trying to "one up" Accuweather all of the freaking time.

I HATE the weather channel any more....
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Quoting vinotinto:
...this will provide another way to "heighten" the awareness and imprint on one's mind storms year round and as a result; drum roll please, further promote one's own "global warming", "climate change" etc. agenda.
It seems to be the opinion of some people that any discussion at all of extreme weather events is somehow part of a "climate change agenda". Aside from the simple fact that that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, such an attitude has always struck me as unnecessarily mean-spirited as well as uninformed. The thing is, how is a weather forecasting company's appelative desires in any way remotely indicative of any institutional agenda, climate change or otherwise?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13900
C name is Caesar... and Q name is just Q?

Link
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BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir

10-02-2012 22:00; PM2.5; 274.0; 324; Hazardous (at 24-hour exposure at this level)
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Ginger had 109 as a tropical system and 9 as an ex tropical system. So that would be 20 more till the record.

Where did you find that? It is not here in this archive.
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Quoting ncstorm:


I think I will stick with "snow" or "ice" until this is consistently done across the media...good concept but it wont work with just one weather outlet doing it..
Agree
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Imagine the confusion if Accuweather, TWC, Fox,CNN, MSNBC all have name charts for winter storms and they have different names. Accuweather could have Ava, TWC Athena, Fox Anna, CNN April, MSNBC Agatha.

Now that would be confusing.


Totally agree ... and what would the international press go with as a name lol... Next thing they will want to put their own exclusive name on tropical storms and Canes
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
How about naming Spring or Summer systems that produce massive amounts of flash flooding and river flooding. The 2010 Nashville Floods are a good example. Afterall, flooding is a MAJOR killer....much greater than Winter Storms or Blizzards. Where do you draw the line? We name winter storms now....but is this as far as some will go, or will we see other stuff down the road?



Where does it end? Do we start naming tornados too? How about haboobs?
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Also true. Lot of people asks me for weather forecast at school and they will not get it when I tell them we got Athena heading over us on December 20th or something like that.


I think I will stick with "snow" or "ice" until this is consistently done across the media...good concept but it wont work with just one weather outlet doing it..
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Quoting AussieStorm:
#GOES-14 now gradually making its way eastward (0.9 deg/day) to replace the failed #GOES-13. It will take 33 days to move from 105W to 75W.
so GOES-13 is dead? I haven't been on here in awhile.
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China air pollution. MODIS today

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Quoting Bluestorm5:
True... TWC said they will only name MAJOR winter storm, not 3-6 inches events or something like that.
3-6 inches, heck, even a inch, south of the Mason-Dixon line is enough to stop the presses.
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#GOES-14 now gradually making its way eastward (0.9 deg/day) to replace the failed #GOES-13. It will take 33 days to move from 105W to 75W.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15985
Quoting ncstorm:


Yeah but realistically though, my news guy isnt going to come on the 6:00 news and say Zeus is going to dump 15 inches of snow..How I look telling my neighbor who dosent watch TWC that Luna is heading our way..he may call the white paddy truck on me..


Instead of Luna, he'll be thinking you're the Lunatic
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Quoting ncstorm:


Yeah but realistically though, my news guy isnt going to come on the 6:00 news and say Zeus is going to dump 15 inches of snow..How I look telling my neighbor who dosent watch TWC that Luna is heading our way..he may call the white paddy truck on me..
Also true. Lot of people asks me for weather forecast at school and they will not get it when I tell them we got Athena heading over us on December 20th or something like that.
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Quoting ncstorm:
One would have to disagree about the 2% chances the SPC keeps giving NC/SC..yesterday was an interesting event Although the tornados started forming before they put our area in the zone..sound like the same thing happening today





You ain't lying... yesterday was an interesting day! We just got poured on here in Raleigh a moment ago.
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Quoting 12george1:
Just 10 more advisories for Nadine and it will break the record

Ginger had 109 as a tropical system and 9 as an ex tropical system. So that would be 20 more till the record.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15985
Quoting Bluestorm5:
At least they are starting this naming stuff this year... this winter will be interesting.


Yeah but realistically though, my news guy isnt going to come on the 6:00 news and say Zeus is going to dump 15 inches of snow..How I look telling my neighbor who dosent watch TWC that Luna is heading our way..he may call the white paddy truck on me..
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Quoting AussieStorm:

But will that start people in here saying, oh why haven't they named this system. or, Why did they name this system. Like we have here in Hurricane season.
True... TWC said they will only name MAJOR winter storm, not 3-6 inches events or something like that.
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Just 10 more advisories for Nadine and it will break the record
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
At least they are starting this naming stuff this year... this winter will be interesting.

But will that start people in here saying, oh why haven't they named this system. or, Why did they name this system. Like we have here in Hurricane season.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15985
Quoting jeffs713:

It would be a riot watching people trying to pronounce "Winter Storm Cthulhu"


I'm putting in my vote for themes and 80s rock stars next year. Cutoff low Kajagoogoo and Madonna have a nice ring to them.
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One would have to disagree about the 2% chances the SPC keeps giving NC/SC..yesterday was an interesting event Although the tornados started forming before they put our area in the zone..sound like the same thing happening today



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Quoting TomballTXPride:
How about naming Spring or Summer systems that produce massive amounts of flash flooding and river flooding. The 2010 Nashville Floods are a good example. Afterall, flooding is a MAJOR killer....much greater than Winter Storms or Blizzards. Where do you draw the line? We name winter storms now....but is this as far as some will go, or will we see other stuff down the road?


The Berlin institute Names high presures and low pressure systems ..It costs more for a high pressure ...
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
How about naming Spring or Summer systems that produce massive amounts of flash flooding and river flooding. The 2010 Nashville Floods are a good example. Afterall, flooding is a MAJOR killer....much greater than Winter Storms or Blizzards. Where do you draw the line? We name winter storms now....but is this as far as some will go, or will we see other stuff down the road?


If thunderstorms start getting names we're in trouble.

"Thunderstorm Chaos caused chaos this afternoon dumping as much as 3-4 inches an hr causing widespread flooding over urban areas."
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
How about naming Spring or Summer systems that produce massive amounts of flash flooding and river flooding. The 2010 Nashville Floods are a good example. Afterall, flooding is a MAJOR killer. Where do you draw the line? We name winter storms now....but is this as far as some will go, or will we see other stuff down the road?
or the Great Flooding of 1993... at least that's what we called it in STL metro area.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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