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 TomballTXPride:


Still incorporates the hype element, though. Hard to refute that.

What's next, Teddy?

Are we going to name floods, droughts, tornadoes?


I'm not completely sold on naming or not naming winter storms. I'm also not sold on how it is currently set up to happen, as I think it needs a more structured set of consistent criteria across the operational met community.

That aside, the slippery slope is not a logical form of reasoning. Debate the pros and cons of the issue here, in front of us, right now - not some situation that has been created through connected dots and imagination.
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why is the forecast cone so short, do they expect TD15 to die in 3 days?
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Quoting LargoFl:
seems europe has been naming bad winter storms for years..we in the USA are behind the times in this area..I for one would like to see how this plays out this coming winter,its an interesting idea...and one more thing..now OTHER of the country outside of the tropical storm danger area's...can now have a named storm of their own to worry about its coming...in wintertime


The named winter storms will only be found at the Weather Channel, and most likely its NBC affiliates. The names will not be recognized anywhere else and will not be referred to by anyone else (NOAA, CNN, CBS, ABC, FOX, Accuguess, etc.)
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Yeah I know it's far out, but looking at the time of the year it makes sense and lines up with climatology. Not sure what the atmosphere will be like around that time frame. As we get closer we will see if the other models jump on board or if the GFS jumps off board with development.

Personally, whenever I see a model developing the Columbian heat low, I discount it unless there is another factor at play (such as interaction with a wave) and it is 4 days out or less. Not many storms form down in that section of the Caribbean, since there usually isn't much room for them to get going. It does happen, but rarely.
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Imagine this..you live in NYC..your driving home from work..and you hear on the radio......."news flash" severe storm warning...severe winter storm BRUTUS is bearing down on NYC..severe winds,and possible 2 feet or more of snow forecasted..possible road closures and power outages and tree's down..please remain safe and prepared..........
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Quoting TomballTXPride:


But raising awareness to weather events deemed as killers is the sole and primary reason behind the motive. And aren't flash floods and droughts events that fall into that category...?


We do name severe flash floods and droughts, once they're finished. But you simply can't name a flash flood or a drought, that's not severe weather like a hurricane is. That's not an area of thunderstorms circulating around a low pressure. They're naming winter storms because they're very, very large, and can affect areas thousands of miles wild. Same with hurricanes.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
The models are very very entertaining to watch that far out as it's more than likely it won't happen.
I will say this, if it continues to show development for a couple of days, then it will likely happen.
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TD15



Member Since: July 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1183
Quoting LargoFl:

seems europe has been naming bad winter storms for years..we in the USA are behind the times in this area..I for one would like to see how this plays out this coming winter,its an interesting idea...and one more thing..now OTHER states in the country outside of the tropical storm danger area's...can now have a named storm of their own to worry about its coming...in wintertime..and be forewarned and maybe Listen to the warnings a lil more
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Nadine and TD 15:

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#658 The Weather in NE florida is much messier than that neat map you posted. Big storms on both sides of that stationary front line and everything moving NE against all the arrows on your map.
See #662.
Hope everything gets out of the way for tomorrow's launch.
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Fetch of moisture flowing up from the Western Caribbean to the GOM. The GFS was showing a nice vort max right over Tampa a few days ago. Getting some nice steady rains here now.

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000
WTNT35 KNHC 031438
TCPAT5

BULLETIN
TROPICAL DEPRESSION FIFTEEN ADVISORY NUMBER 1
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL152012
1100 AM AST WED OCT 03 2012

...LOW PRESSURE OVER THE CENTRAL TROPICAL ATLANTIC BECOMES TROPICAL
DEPRESSION FIFTEEN...
...NOT EXPECTED TO LAST VERY LONG...


SUMMARY OF 1100 AM AST...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...17.3N 41.5W
ABOUT 1160 MI...1870 KM W OF THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH...55 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 320 DEGREES AT 15 MPH...24 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1008 MB...29.77 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.


DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 1100 AM AST...1500 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION
FIFTEEN WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 17.3 NORTH...LONGITUDE 41.5 WEST.
THE DEPRESSION IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 15 MPH...24 KM/H.
A TURN TOWARD THE NORTH WITH A DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS
EXPECTED BY EARLY THURSDAY. A NORTHEASTWARD ACCELERATION IS
FORECAST BY EARLY FRIDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 35 MPH...55 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. SLIGHT STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 48
HOURS...AND THE DEPRESSION COULD BECOME A TROPICAL STORM DURING THE
NEXT DAY OR SO.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1008 MB...29.77 INCHES.


HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
NONE


NEXT ADVISORY
-------------
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY...500 PM AST.

$$
FORECASTER BERG
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting TomballTXPride:


Still incorporates the hype element, though. Hard to refute that.

What's next, Teddy?

Are we going to name floods, droughts, tornadoes?
seems europe has been naming bad winter storms for years..we in the USA are behind the times in this area..I for one would like to see how this plays out this coming winter,its an interesting idea...and one more thing..now OTHER of the country outside of the tropical storm danger area's...can now have a named storm of their own to worry about its coming...in wintertime
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Yeah I know it's far out, but looking at the time of the year it makes sense and lines up with climatology. Not sure what the atmosphere will be like around that time frame. As we get closer we will see if the other models jump on board or if the GFS jumps off board with development.
The models are very very entertaining to watch that far out as it's more than likely it won't happen.
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Quoting jeffs713:

Columbian Heat Low - GFS loves to develop it early and late in the season due to feedback. Also note how you posted the 384hr forecast, which rarely verifies.
Yeah I know it's far out, but looking at the time of the year it makes sense and lines up with climatology. Not sure what the atmosphere will be like around that time frame. As we get closer we will see if the other models jump on board or if the GFS jumps off board with development.
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About time.Hopefully they won't snatch it back like they've done with past storms o_0.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:


Still incorporates the hype element, though. Hard to refute that.

What's next, Teddy?

Are we going to name floods, droughts, tornadoes?


You can say that about hurricanes and tropical cyclones. Take the system that hit Florida last year, all evidence pointed that system, 93L as I recall, should have been Subtropical Storm Rina at landfall in Cape Canaveral, Florida. There was no attention given to it, but if it was named a subtropical, perhaps even a tropical storm it would have generated attention. I can tell you for a fact my relatives over there sure thought it was a 50-60mph tropical storm and were caught off guard.

You're completely missing the point, it generates awareness, not hype. I'd much rather if the WMO had came up with these, instead of TWC, because this is a good idea to take the necessary steps to prepare people for things like blizzards an Nor'easters.

We can't name tornadoes, because there are thousands a year. You can't name droughts because that's not active severe weather in the same sense as hurricanes and blizzards are, same with floods.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
invest_RENUMBER_al962012_al152012.ren

AL, 15, 2012100312, , BEST, 0, 171N, 413W, 30, 1008, TD, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1013, 200, 90, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, M,


There you have it, Tropical Depression 15.

Remember, this season was supposed to be inactive ;).
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The ATCF has renumbered; the NHC may/should follow suit in the next 20 minutes or so:

invest_RENUMBER_al962012_al152012.ren

AL, 15, 2012100312, , BEST, 0, 171N, 413W, 30, 1008, TD, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1013, 200, 90, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, M,
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13455
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Here is the next storm:

06z GFS 384 hrs.



00z GFS Ensemble



18z GFS Ensemble


Columbian Heat Low - GFS loves to develop it early and late in the season due to feedback. Also note how you posted the 384hr forecast, which rarely verifies.
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Quoting FL1980:
Naming winter storms?? Just another part of the hype machine!


I know! What a horrible idea, let's also not name hurricanes because those are clearly hype machines.

Sarcasm aside, I think it's a good idea to name winter storms. Doing a bit of research into this, winter storms can cause billions of dollars in damages and knock out power to a lot of people. Things like nor'easters for examples coming up the coast are almost like hurricanes, but they're cold core instead of warm core like hurricanes are. They can bring heavy snow (instead of flooding rains), strong winds, and even storm surge if they're powerful enough. It's a good idea to name things as such. Should the names be so ridiculous? Meh, probably not. I'd have gone with the phonetic alphabet for them (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, so on).
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Quoting LargoFl:
yes its really coming down now, local weather guy said this afternoon the sun should come out again as these storms will move inland


Every time the sun comes out lately, it feels miserably hot. I am totally up for a nice overcast period. We have a 60% chance of rain today again.
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Quoting Jedkins01:



Yeah we are getting drenched here this morning, its good to see the wet situation playing out after all. The front had very little to it until it stalled. There some areas of enhanced upper divergence sweeping by that is overcoming the the warm mid level air. Which is what I expected that we would need to see higher coverage.
so much for the front moving through earlier than forecast, as you said last night :p
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WHY..IS WEATHER CHANNEL GOING TO NAME WINTER STORMS??.................HERE IS THE ANSWER.Link
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Naming winter storms?? Just another part of the hype machine!
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Fish storms still present an excellent opportunity to test forecast models for direction, speed, intensity, development, influential factors, etc. but without the headache of evacuating hundreds of thousands of people in harms way.

If you are in this for improving remote sensing, prediction capability, and safety rather than just to see if the weather channel will be visiting your Wal-Mart this week, Fish Storms are plenty exciting. Also worth mentioning is the waves they make for coastal erosion and surfers, ocean upwelling of nutrients for production influences, and sea surface temperature shifts.
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GFS at 48 hours.............
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Guess we still wont get the cooler weather........
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SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY AREA - RUSKIN FL
955 AM EDT WED OCT 3 2012

FLZ051-055-031445-
HILLSBOROUGH-MANATEE-
955 AM EDT WED OCT 3 2012

...TORRENTIAL RAINS WILL AFFECT CENTRAL HILLSBOROUGH AND NORTH
CENTRAL MANATEE COUNTIES...

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATES A CLUSTER OF
HEAVY SHOWERS LOCATED NEAR LITTLE MANATEE RIVER STATE PARK...OR 14
MILES NORTHEAST OF PALMETTO...MOVING NORTH AT 20 MPH...WILL AFFECT
RUSKIN...LITTLE MANATEE RIVER STATE PARK...SUN CITY
CENTER...BRANDON...BLOOMINGDALE...AND WIMAUMA...UNTIL 1045 AM EDT.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 75 BETWEEN EXITS 240 AND 261.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 4 BETWEEN EXITS 1 AND 14.

TORRENTIAL RAINS WILL REDUCE VISIBILITY TO NEAR ZERO AND WILL CAUSE
PONDING OF WATER ON ROADWAYS. MOTORISTS SHOULD EXERCISE EXTREME
CAUTION.

&&

LAT...LON 2775 8249 2779 8243 2783 8246 2782 8249
2786 8248 2785 8247 2782 8244 2782 8241
2784 8241 2783 8244 2789 8241 2790 8247
2807 8243 2801 8216 2759 8233 2764 8252
TIME...MOT...LOC 1355Z 195DEG 18KT 2771 8240

$$
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Here is the next storm:

06z GFS 384 hrs.



00z GFS Ensemble



18z GFS Ensemble

I can't see nothing.
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Quoting LargoFl:
going to be some local street flooding i bet its pouring..



Yeah we are getting drenched here this morning, its good to see the wet situation playing out after all. The front had very little to it until it stalled. There some areas of enhanced upper divergence sweeping by that is overcoming the the warm mid level air. Which is what I expected that we would need to see higher coverage.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
96L.

Yet another fish system.

Nothing fun to track here, Folks.

Move on. Next storm please.
Here is the next storm:

06z GFS 384 hrs.



00z GFS Ensemble



18z GFS Ensemble

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I'm still looking forward to Oscar even though it looks like he be a no mans land roamer.The Oscar Myers jokes are going to be classic!.
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CSU forecasts average activity in Caribbean for October/November.

Link
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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.