While the responsibility of christening tropical storms has for decades fallen to the National Weather Service and its seemingly unending stores of diner waitress names, deciding what to call a winter blizzard has typically been the province of local and cable news stations, which is why they're always dumb portmanteaus like "Snowmaggedon," because that is the sort of thing news stations like. Well, no more: The Weather Channel has announced that, from now on, it will be in charge of naming winter storms, and it's not going in for any of those goofy, awkwardly grafted "snow" puns.
Nope, from now on, we're classing up this joint before it gets buried in commute-wrecking ice and frozen squirrels, with The Weather Channel drawing all of its storm names—which will then become easily shared hashtags on social media, so Twitter can tell you it’s snowing outside—from the annals of mythology, ancient history, and classic literature, plus one from the New York subway system and a word that means "people who do yoga," because The Weather Channel couldn't think of words that start with "Q" and "Y," apparently.
The list of names you can expect to destroy your week this year, with brief explanations of their origins:
- Athena: The Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, inspirations, justice, mathematics and all things wonderful.
- Brutus: Roman Senator and best known assassin of Julius Caesar.
- Caesar: Title used by Roman and Byzantine emperors
- Draco: The first legislator of Athens in Ancient Greece.
- Euclid: A mathematician in Ancient Greece, the father of geometry.
- Freyr: A Norse god associated with fair weather, among other things.
- Gandolf: A character in a 1896 fantasy novel in a pseudo-medieval countryside.
- Helen: In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy was the daughter of Zeus.
- Iago: Enemy of Othello in Shakespeare’s play, Othello.
- Jove: The English name for Jupiter, the Roman god of light and sky.
- Khan: Mongolian conqueror and emperor of the Mongol empire.
- Luna: The divine embodiment of the moon in Roman mythology.
- Magnus: The Father of Europe, Charlemagne the Great, in Latin: Carolus Magnus.
- Nemo: A Greek boy’s name meaning "from the valley," means "nobody" in Latin.
- Orko: The thunder god in Basque mythology.
- Plato: Greek philosopher and mathematician, who was named by his wrestling coach.
- Q: The Broadway Express subway line in New York City.
- Rocky: A single mountain in the Rockies.
- Saturn: Roman god of time, also the namesake of the planet Saturn in our solar system.
- Triton: In Greek mythology, the messenger of the deep sea, son of Poseidon.
- Ukko: In Finnish mythology, the god of the sky and weather.
- Virgil: One of ancient Rome’s greatest poets.
- Walda: Name from Old German meaning “ruler.”
- Xerxes: The fourth king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Xerxes the Great.
- Yogi: People who do yoga.
- Zeus: In Greek mythology, the supreme ruler of Mount Olympus and the gods who lived there.
- Call it a hunch, but no one is going to be properly terrified by Winter Storm Euclid.
- Clarifying that "Gandolf" refers to William Morris' The Well At World's End may cleverly avoid any Lord Of The Rings rights issues, but it won't stop a million angry nerd emails.
- Some of those emails will also be about He-Man and Orko.
- On that note, just admit that "Yogi" is a reference to the bear, because this is dumb.
- Naming a winter storm after the white villain Iago is pretty clever.
- Naming a winter storm after the white boxer Rocky is pretty confusing.
- This entire list exists so newspapers can publish the headline "Wrath of Khan." You know what? Just name every winter storm "Khan." It's fine.