Yes: last year The Weather Channel—which owns Weather.com, Weather Underground, and a host of other weather-related sites—announced it would begin naming winter storms too. That is its official list of names, as packaged in its official, attractive graphic.
The truth is there is very little attempt being made to hide the fact that this is a money play. In case the inclusion of "Draco" and "Nemo" (just some Greek and Roman names, nothing to do with any recent children's movies, don't worry) and "Gandolf" (the "Bert Sampson" of fantasy names) didn't tip you off, the announcement itself makes it clear that this is about punching up the weather story: "A storm with a name takes on a personality all its own," writes Tom Niziol. Such "personality," he claims "adds to awareness."
The cold front, which is predicted to bring temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees lower than average in states that already experience harsh January weather, is coming down from the polar regions above northern Canada. The pocket of cold air, called a "polar vortex," was blocked up north by a high-pressure area that meteorologists refer to as a "ridge," according to Mark Ressler, senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel.
The ridge has high pressure on both the surface level and aloft, meaning miles above the Earth's surface. The ridge was formed by pools of warm water that have collected near the Gulf of Alaska, according to Joe D'Aleo, co-chief meteorologist at WeatherBELL Analytics. These pools of warm water, which are up to seven degrees warmer than normal, heat the surrounding air and expand it, raising the temperature and pressure, and block air from the Pacific Ocean as it tries to move eastward into Canada.
MartinWisse: "Meanwhile here in the Netherlands it has been an incredible balmy winter so far, still wearing my summer coat and t-shirt most of the time and while we have gotten some rain and wind, we luckily have this little windbreaker out in the Atlantic, which you may know as Ireland and Britain..."
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