Here’s How Winter Storms Are Named

If you've ever found yourself wondering, 'When did they start naming winter storms?' We're here with answers.

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In many parts of the country, it’s officially winter storm season again. If you find yourself scratching your head wondering, When did they start naming winter storms? Or even, Who names winter storms? You are in the right place.

We’re here to walk you through the process of how winter storms get named. Plus, you’ll also learn some helpful tips and tricks to ensure your home is prepared to weather the upcoming winter storm season.

Who Names Winter Storms?

Unlike hurricanes, which are named officially by the National Weather Service, there is a much more laid-back approach to winter storm naming. In fact, winter storms get their monikers from The Weather Channel or a subsidiary. And while these names often gain mainstream popularity, the National Weather Service does not formally recognize winter storm names—regardless of which type of winter storm it is.

When Did The Weather Channel Start Naming Winter Storms?

Naming winter storms is a fairly recent phenomenon. The Weather Channel, which has assumed the role of giving winter storms their names, began naming storms in 2012. However, providing a moniker for storms isn’t new—in fact, naming hurricanes started in the early 1950s.

Back then, the United States National Hurricane Center created a system to name storms based on a phonetic alphabet. Interestingly enough, storms were only given female names until the late 1970s. After, both male and female names started to be used.

However, naming winter storms started much more recently: in the early 2010s around the time that social media started gaining momentum and became more mainstream. Is it a coincidence that storms started getting named around the same time Twitter, a place where people could easily share their thoughts on the internet, became popular? We think not—and it just goes to show that the reason winter storms are named is to make communicating about them easier.

Tips for Getting Your Home Ready for a Winter Storm

It can be overwhelming getting your home prepared for a winter storm, but it’s easier if you have a winter storm prep checklist to get started. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Give your home a once over to determine any vulnerabilities (think: loose siding or shoddy shingles) and fix them before the storm arrives.
  • Have a plan in case you lose electricity and need to rely on an alternative form of heating. Stock up on things like flashlights, batteries, bottled water, and non-perishable food—enough for at least a week.
  • Don’t forget the ice melt for the cleanup. Find out which parts of your home are most susceptible to winter storm damage.

Here are more tips to help you prepare for a winter storm.