via press release:
The Weather Channel Announces Winter Storm Names
List of Names Developed By High School Students in Bozeman, Montana
Second Year of Winter Storm Naming Will Continue to Drive Social Media Conversations on Weather
ATLANTA – October 1, 2013 – The Weather Channel© today announced its list of winter storm names for 2013-2014, which will include Atlas, Boreas, Hercules and Kronos. Last winter the network became the first national organization to proactively name winter storms with the goals of making communications and information sharing easier, and better alerting residents to forecasts for storms that could significantly affect their lives. The inaugural effort was a great success, highlighted by the social and traditional media dialogue around the forecasts and impacts of winter storm Nemo last February, which was mentioned in more than a million tweets.
“Our first year of naming storms proved that it worked, and we were thrilled with the result which was an ideal demonstration of the intersection of social media and television,” said Bryan Norcross, meteorologist and storm specialist at The Weather Channel. “The winter storm names enabled simpler and more focused communications around forecasts and preparedness information on The Weather Channel and in other media outlets, and during the big storms like Nemo, the names became a handy way for the public to receive and exchange information.”
The storm names for 2013-2014 are derived from lists created by students at Bozeman High School in Bozeman, MT, as an assignment in Latin class and are primarily from Greek and Roman mythology.
The storm-naming criteria are based on National Weather Service thresholds for winter-weather warnings and the storm’s expected impacts on a population center or over a large geographic area. Winter storms will be named whenever the predicted weather exceeds the naming criteria. Storms that do not exceed the criteria may also be named, on occasion, when the impacts are forecast to be especially unusual, historic, or significant.
The decision to begin naming storms came about as part of The Weather Channel’s program to find the best possible ways to communicate severe-weather information on all distribution platforms, including social media. Hashtags are an intrinsic part of social-media communications, and a storm name proved to be the best way to efficiently and systematically convey storm information. Storm-name hashtags have been used with tropical storms and hurricanes for years, and Winter Storm Nemo’s billion-plus impressions on social media last winter demonstrated that the same system is ideal for winter storms as well.
Improving communications is a key part of The Weather Channel’s core mission to keep the public safe and informed in severe-weather events. During the winter months, many people are impacted by freezing temperatures, flooding, power outages, travel disruptions, and other impacts caused by snow and ice storms. The storm-naming program raises awareness and reduces the risks, danger, and confusion for residents in the storms’ paths.
Along with naming storms, during the 2012-2013 winter storm season The Weather Channel also introduced a new Winter Impact Index called STORM:CON, a scientific, point-based winter weather index that provides, on a scale of one to 10, the potential impacts for major U.S. cities in the path of the storm. To create this index, several factors are considered, including the forecast of the storm’s duration, time of day, day of the week, how close in time to a previous significant winter event it occurs, and whether it occurs early or late in the season. The final index number provides an indication of the impact a winter storm will have on a particular city.
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