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It was a Brute, Alright…But Was It a Brutus?

There’s no argument that the winter storm that buried the Golden Triangle in snow last  week was a brute. But if you watched any of the coverage on The Weather Channel, you heard them refer to it repeatedly as “Brutus”. Yes, TWC- and so far only TWC- is naming major snowstorms this winter. You can read the rational behind the decision HERE, but it boils down to three arguments: 1. Naming a storm raises awareness and makes it easier to refer to it in social media. 2. The media already name them…”Snowmageddon” being a recent example. And reason number 3. It’s kind of fun, isn’t it?

Here are the names TWC has chosen for this year’s winter storms and storms-to-be:

Athena, Brutus (We’ve used these two names, and it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet!), Caesar, Draco, Euclid, Freyr, Gandolf, Helen, Iago, Jove, Khan, Luna, Magnus, Nemo, Orko, Plato, Q, Rocky, Saturn, Triton, Ukko, Virgil, Walda, Xerxes, Yogi, Zeus.

If we are to take this seriously, there would need to be some standards for measuring a developing winter storm’s severity. A tropical depression must meet certain criteria before it becomes a named tropical storm which may or may not graduate to hurricane status. Hurricanes have been named since WWII, when military forecasters needed a quick way to differentiate between a number of developing storm systems over the open ocean. Australian forecasters were naming storms as far back as the late 1800′s.

The lack of measurable standards is one argument against naming snowstorms. The most common argument I’ve heard is that it will just confuse people. Some cynics suspect it’s just a ploy for publicity on TWC’s part…a successful ploy, I might add. We’re talking about it, right?

So what do you think? Would Winter Storm Brutus have been any less brutal without the name?

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