Whether we like it or not, the time of year when we have to start thinking about that cold fluffy white stuff that falls from from the sky is upon us, and as much as we want to ignore it, with fall being in full swing, that means winter is coming.

If there is something that we know in Western New York better than most areas, it's that winter sweeps in fast, and it seems to go on forever.

While winter isn't here yet, The Weather Channel is surely doing its best to remind us it's en route.

The 2023-24 Winter Storm Names Have Been Released

A sure sign that it's time to get prepared for winter is when The Weather Channel releases its official winter storm names list.

TWC has issued names for winter storms since the 2012-13 winter weather season.

The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel

The American Meteorological Society goes into further details about the practice saying that issuing the names is a better way to help identify different winter storms across the country as social media has become a bigger part of our lives in the 21st century.

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.

As with past years, this year's list from The Weather Channel consists of 26 names to be used for the storms.

The Federal Government Does Not Name Winter Storms

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, the National Weather Service will only refer to winter storms using the date the storm developed.

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