Who Named the Storm “Nemo” Anyway?

By now you’ve probably heard the name “Nemo” attached to the winter storm that’s hitting the region today. And the somewhat unconventional name, reminiscent of a certain animated fish, may be amusing to some.

It’s the Weather Channel, not the National Weather Service, that named this blizzard “Nemo.” The channel announced it would begin naming “noteworthy” winter storms last November. The Weather Channel explains on its website that naming storms raises awareness, makes tracking a storm’s progress easier, and “in today’s social media world, a name makes it much easier to reference in communication.” That strategy seems to have worked: #nemo has been trending on Twitter since Thursday.

But the National Weather Service has declined to get on board with winter storm names, though the service has given hurricanes proper names since 1953. In a statement, a spokesperson says the National Weather Service does not name winter storms because -quote- “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.” But the service does rate winter storms after they occur.

If more storms hit the country this winter, the Weather Channel already has more interesting names ready, including Orko, Rocky, Xerxes, and Zeus.