Weather Channel releases its picks for winter storm names

The Weather Channel has released its selection for names of winter storms for the 2020-2021 season.

The network’s practice of naming winter storms started in 2012.

However, the idea of naming winter storms, unlike tropical cyclones, is not “official” in the sense that it is carried out by , a private entity, as opposed to a government or international agency.

In most regions of the world, a government agency is responsible for generating the policy of assigning names to tropical cyclones, which are also known as hurricanes in some contexts.

This is often done in coordination with the World Meteorological Organization’s rules and guidelines.

These lists are often developed on a rotational basis with some names being “retired” if a storm associated with that name is particularly deadly and destructive.

While many of these agencies also have formal criteria for identifying when a storm is named, The Weather Channel’s system only published qualifiers is that a storm is “disruptive” to residents of an area or region.

The Weather Channel’s idea of naming winter storms has been met with criticism by some, calling it more of a publicity or branding stunt. Others, however, have said the idea helps with reporting on storms since the name becomes linked in the minds of viewers.

In some cases, The Weather Channel’s name is used by other outlets to reference the same storm.

All that said, here’s The Weather Channel’s picks for the upcoming season:

  • Abigail
  • Billy
  • Constance
  • Dane
  • Eartha
  • Flynn
  • Gail
  • Harold
  • Ivy
  • John
  • Katherine
  • Lana
  • Malcolm
  • Nathaniel
  • Orlena
  • Peggy
  • Quade
  • Roland
  • Shirley
  • Tabitha
  • Uri
  • Viola
  • Ward
  • Xylia
  • Yardley
  • Zayne

It’s worth noting that The Weather Channel has assigned 26 names, representing each letter of the alphabet that also alternate between traditionally female and male names, much like how NOAA generates its lists.

NOAA, however, skips the letters “Q” and “U” in both its Atlantic and Pacific lists. “X,” “Y” and “Z” are skipped in the Atlantic list while the Pacific list provides names for these letters.

These lists are assigned to specific years and switch to letters of the Greek alphabet if the list is exhausted during a particular year. If, however, not all the names are used in a particular year, the list always starts over with “A” the following season.

There is also a separate Central North Pacific group of lists that uses a dozen letters of the alphabet. This grouping, unlike the other two, rotate through without regard to year, so when the “W” name is reached (the last letter in each of the lists), the next significant event uses the “A” name on the next of the four lists.