The Weather Channel and weather.com released its winter storm names for the 2017-18 season (see 2016 Winter Storm Helena video below), marking the sixth season of naming winter storms. Last year, the first three named winter storms had already been named by this time. So far this year, only two have been named, Aiden and Benji.
Why are winter storms named and who names them? A panel of meteorologists at the television network came up with criteria a winter storm must meet in order to be assigned a name: As of the winter of 2015–2016, the network will name a storm if: 2,000,000 people or 400,000 square kilometers of land are covered by an official winter storm warning, which is issued by the United States National Weather Service when significant amounts of snow and ice are forecast for a certain area.
The first winter storm last year was named Argos and it arrived on November 17 and held through November 21, 2016. Argos dropped 54.5 inches near Redfield, New York. Winter storm Argos traveled from the central Rockies on Nov. 17 to the Midwest delivering more than 2 feet of snow in Minnesota, Vermont and Upstate New York on Nov. 20-21, where one location east of Lake Ontario reported more than 4.5 feet of snow.
This year Winter Storm Aiden brought the first snow of the season to the Denver metro area, but its heavy, wet snow in parts of Wyoming, Colorado and western Nebraska triggered scattered power outages.
Last year, Winter Storm Blanche arrived November 27 and held through December 1 dropping an estimated 62 inches south-southeast of Elk Mountain, Wyoming. Blanche developed into a record strong low pressure system in the Dakotas for the month of November as it moved eastward from the Rockies across the Upper Midwest and later into northern New England.
This year, Benji first dumped snow on the South Dec. 7-9 and then scooted by the Northeast coastline Dec. 9 into early Dec. 10. The biggest impacts from Benji were felt in the South where the heavy, wet snow knocked out power to hundreds of thousands.
Last year the next winter storm hit the Pacific coast, Winter Storm Caly on December 7 and held until December 12. Caly was a cross-country traffic trouble maker that traveled from Oregon across the Northern Rockies into the Midwest. The Portland, Oregon, area received 0.75 inches of ice, the first of many wintry weather events in the Willamette Valley.
One of the storms which affected east coast cruise ship ports in 2016 was Winter Storm Helena. Helena hit right after the new year on January 3 and ended on the 7th. Schools and roads across the South and East from Alabama to Virginia were closed for days after a dose of freezing rain, sleet and snow. Days of sub-40 degree weather kept some roads icy as much as five days after the ice fell. Blizzard conditions with snow, sleet and low visibility were reported eastern Virginia. Snow also fell along parts of the Northeast I-95 corridor before Helena moved out to sea. New York City picked up 5.1 inches of snow from Helena, while Boston saw 7.2 inches of snowfall.
Last year, the last Winter Named Storm was Winter Storm Valerie, May 18-19, 2017 which had a top snowfall amount of 42 inches near Allenspark, Colorado. Valerie was a very late season winter storm that brought feet of snow to the central Rockies. The winter storm was named due to winter storm warnings in the Denver metro area, but very little snow fell at Denver International.
So, as you can see, it appears this will be much different winter season for storm issues in cruise port cities. As usual, the names will be used in alphabetical order to identify winter storms that meet naming criteria.
Aiden – From an Old Irish name meaning “fire.”
Benji – Short for Benjamin, an old Hebrew name meaning “son of the south.”
Chloe (KLO-ee) – From Greek, it is a reference to blooming or the young green shoot of a new plant.
Dylan – From Welsh words meaning “great tide.”
Ethan – From a Hebrew name meaning “strong,” “solid” or “firm.”
Frankie – A nickname for Frank, Francis or Frances from the Germanic tribe the Franks.
Grayson – From the Middle English word that meant steward plus son.
Hunter – From the time when people in England were named for their work.
Inga – Related to the name of a people who lived on the North Sea called the Ingaevones.
Jaxon – From the son of Jack, which was a nickname for John in the Middle Ages.
Kalani – From the Hawaiian words meaning the plus heaven or sky.
Liam – From Irish, a short form of William, which comes from German.
Mateo (muh-TAY-o) – The Spanish form of Matthew, which is distantly derived from the Hebrew word for gift.
Noah – Derived from the Hebrew word meaning “rest.”
Oliver – The English form of the French name Olivier.
Polly – From Molly, which is an old nickname for Mary.
Quinn – Derived from an Irish Gaelic word meaning “chief” or “counsel.”
Riley – Derived from Reilly, which comes from the Old Irish name Raghailleach.
Skylar – A modified version of Tyler merged with the word sky.
Toby – Derived from Tobias, a name from old versions of the Bible.
Uma (OO-ma) – From multiple cultures including the Sanskrit word meaning “tranquility.”
Violet – Originally from the name for the Latin name for the flower, viola.
Wilbur – Mr. Ed’s owner in the TV show about a talking horse.
Xanto – From the Ancient Greek name Xanthus meaning “blonde.”
Yvonne (ee-VONN) – Related to a nickname for the Old French name Yves, which came from the name of a type of wood used to make bows.
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Video: Winter storm Helena|Thousands of people without power|New York|Heavy Snow fall in NYC