In unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, The Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety and is doing a disservice to the field of meteorology and public service. We have explored this issue for 20 years and have found that this is not good science and importantly will actually mislead the public. Winter storms are very different from hurricanes.
Hurricanes are well-defined storms following a path that can be tracked and predicted. By contrast, winter storms are often erratic, affecting different areas unevenly. Winter storms often develop, dissipate, and reform with two to three centers, often delivering snow in only one quadrant, while places not too far away from a blizzard may experience rain or fog, or nothing at all. As a result, the public will not know what action to take when there is a ‘named’ storm, or may take the wrong action.