The Weather Channel has released its list of tentative winter storm names for 2015 and 2016, and they are cynical pap designed to maximize social sharing and, thereby, profit for the network. The names range from the cataclysmic Goliath to the self-aware Yolo, the historic Olympia to the "bound to attract the same Weezer joke from everyone on Twitter" Jonas.
Other types of storm names are decided upon by a group of warning centers, and are meant to serve as a shorthand between weather forecasters and the populations they serve. This is not entirely the case, however, with winter storm names. They double as promotions for event viewing. In 2011, the channel struck gold when dubbing a Halloween nor'easter, Snowtober. The next year, the company shrewdly began making events out of all winter storms, beginning with winter storm Athena in November 2012.
According to a report on The Washington Post, The Weather Channel will only apply names to "storms that threaten populations of 2 million or greater, or an area of 400,000 square kilometers." Of course, they have allowed wiggle room to name any storm outside this measurement, should they see fit. Rules, you see, are meant to be broken.
This portion of The Washington Post's story captures the television network's strategy:
The names were selected again with help from Bozeman High School's Latin Club in Bozeman, Mont. The list was tweaked by senior meteorologist Bryan Norcross, who said he combed through the suggestions to make sure they're short, pronounceable and work well as a hashtag, since social media is the "driving force behind the naming."
Here's the full list of names, via The Weather Channel:
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