Continued from page 1

In that way, the lead-up to the storm has been the atmospheric equivalent of the week before the Oscars or Super Bowl.

And now it even has the catchy Nemo name thanks to The Weather Channel.

“By definition when we give things a name, it does allow us to connect with it,” says Heidi Cullen, chief climatologist at Climate Central, a nonprofit science journalism group. She’s also a former Weather Channel expert. “It gives it a narrative. We’re hard-wired for stories and we can turn these weather events into stories.”

But Uccellini and others don’t like it because it’s arbitrary and leads to confusion. This storm is the product of two systems, one coming from the west, dumping snow over the Great Lakes and one moving north from the southeast coast. Which of those were Nemo, if either, he asks. And what makes some storms name-worthy and others not?

The name Nemo was getting significant use, trending Friday on Twitter. The Huffington Post website fully embraced the name, trumpeting “Nemo Cometh” in a morning headline. But it was an easy target for jokes, too. CBS News’ Major Garrett mused on Twitter: “I thought only Dairy Queen named Blizzards.”


Seth Borenstein can be followed at