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Nemo, Charlotte, Ari—Why Do Snowstorms Have Names Now?

Not all meteorologists accept the name game, or acknowledge this storm as Nemo.

Updated (paragraph quoting Bloomberg Businessweek added):

You've probably heard occasional—but perhaps not frequent—references to this winter storm as "Nemo."

While it makes for some good jokes about that cute little orange fish, Nemo is not the brainchild of the Disney Corporation, but rather, a pre-determined name The Weather Channel gave to this latest storm. Going further back, Jules Verne used the name "Nemo" as the moniker of the mysterious captain of the Nautilus in his 19th-century adventure novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

But the name "Nemo" had nothing to do with either the clown fish or the captain. "Nemo, far from being pulled from the annals of Pixar Animation Studios’ (DIS) popular fish film, is the brainchild of morning show producer Pete Schwartz, who suggested using Greek or Roman names when the initiative began last fall," Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

If you missed it: The Weather Channel in November announced it would name "noteworthy winter storms" in the 2012-2013 winter season.

Sure, snowstorms have been informally named after the fact (remember Snowtober?) This is the first season, however, that The Weather Channel is naming them as it does hurricanes and tropical storms. The rationale? According to the Weather Channel, names raise awareness, make it easier to follow a weather system's progress, a storm with a name "takes a personality all of its own," and names make it easier to reference in social media.

The Weather Channel's naming decision hasn't been accepted by some of its meteorological counterparts, however. AccuWeather, for one, declared that "in unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, The Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety." 

The National Weather Service also doesn't name winter storms.

And then there's 'Charlotte' and 'Ari'

"Charlotte is the name given the storm by WFSB, Channel 3 in Hartford, which for more than 40 years has naming significant snowstorms," according to MassLive.com, a Massachusetts website. "And Feb. 8-9 winter storm is the preferred description for the National Weather Service."

The Day in New London reports: "Prior to The Weather Channel's announcement last fall that it would be naming winter storms, Channel 3 touted on its website that it was the only station in the nation to name them."

Channel 3, at least initially, gave the name "Ari" to the storm. on Feb. 7, but by Saturday, the station was calling it "Charlotte."

Editor's note: This article in a somewhat different form, originally was published by Grafton Patch in Massachusetts.

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