Whether you like it or not, we've been visited by Gerri, who was making their way across the country and finally stopped by Western New York. When visiting the 716 and 585, Gerri brought at least 2 feet of snow, along with high winds creating near zero visibility and causing officials across the state to issue driving and travel bans all over the region. Before Gerri heads out of the area, they were also sure to essentially shut down the City and even force the NFL to reschedule a playoff football game.

I know you're probably asking yourself, who's Gerri, and how did they get so much power?

Well, we're talking about Winter Storm Gerri, and even though winter storms are now given names like we do, hurricanes have been a thing for at least the last 13 years; it seems like it's only now starting to catch on in places like Western New York.

Where Do Snowstorm Names Come From?

Locally in Western New York, county officials have an unofficial tradition of naming storms after local beers like Pills Mafia or Ebenezer IPA, but on a national level, storm names aren't decided by any sort of government agency.

According to the American Meteorological Society, winter storm names are picked by The Weather Channel. This practice was started in 2011 as a way to help identify different winter storms across the country as social media became a bigger part of our lives in the 21st century.

The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel

Officials from The Weather Channel have selected 26 names to be used during this year's winter weather season.

To be named, a winter storm has to meet, or eventually meet, at least one of the following criteria:

- NWS winter storm, blizzard, or ice storm warnings covering a population of at least 2 million.

- NWS winter storm, blizzard, or ice storm warnings covering at least an area of 400,000 square kilometers, or slightly larger than the state of Montana.

While The Weather Channel does name winter storms, government agencies like the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration do not name winter storms and have gone on record to say they have no plans to do so anytime soon.

The National Weather Service does not name winter storms because a winter storm's impact can vary from one location to another, and storms can weaken and redevelop, making it difficult to define where one ends and another begins.
-Susan Buchanan, Spokesperson for the National Weather Service

The National Weather Service issued an official memo in 2012 saying they would not acknowledge The Weather Channel's storm names, and it went further to advise local NWS offices not to do so either.

Unlike Atlantic and Pacific Ocean storms that are tracked by the National Hurricane Center, winter storms will only be referred to using the date by the National Weather Service.

Where Did Winter Storm Gerri Come From?

According to The Weather Channel, Winter Story Gerri started to develop on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, in the Pacific Northwest and had an impact on areas in Washington State, Oregon, and Idaho, dropping nearly 30 inches of snow in just one day.

The storm then made its way across the country, dumping snow in Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, and western Michigan before traveling down the Great Lakes to Buffalo and Western New York.

Here Are A Few Things To Do To Get Ready For A Winter Snowstorm

Before the winter weather in New York starts getting bad, here are a few steps that you can take right now to make sure you're ready to ride out the weather.

Gallery Credit: Ed Nice

Winter Preparedness Checklist For New York State Residents

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