LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Katrina, Irene and Andrew are just some of the more recent named hurricanes that caused destruction here in the United States.
Unlike hurricanes, damaging winter storms remain nameless, but not for long.
During hurricane season, named tropical systems become instantly recognizable to the public and by having a name some of the deadliest, most destructive hurricanes become sinister almost human.
Winter storms can strike with similar, life-affecting intensity and sometimes in surprising fashion.
The Groundhog Day blizzard of 2011, forecast days in advance, still stranded hundreds along Lakeshore Drive in Chicago, but except for coined phrases like "snowtober" and "snowmageddon" winter storm coverage has rarely taken on a personality of its own, until now.
Winter Weather Expert Tom Niziol with The Weather Channel said, "This season The Weather Channel is naming major winter storms."
That's right The Weather Channel will be naming winter storms this season..
"There will be a number of criteria we're going to look at, most important of course is going to be snowfall accumulation, ice accumulation, and that combination of wind which can produce significant impacts on the public," explained Niziol.
Selected by a committee of specialists and forecasters here at the weather channel, the list includes names like Athena, Draco, and Magnus.
Niziol said, "Names with an attitude. Winter weather certainly has an attitude and takes on a certain personality, so that's gonna be our theme for this year."
And even though it may sound gimmicky and fun, the reasoning behind it is anything but that.
Senior Meteorologist Stu Ostro explained, "Even though winter storms are different than hurricanes, they have their own share of disruptive and dangerous effects."
Niziol added, "And NOAA has a goal to become a more weather ready nation. The Weather Channel is going to do our part to raise the awareness to the public to reach that goal."
Naming storms can also help differentiate dangerous systems from normal winter weather, a model Europe has used for decades.
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