Referred to in headlines as the “crippling blizzard” bearing down on Washington, D.C., the system that’s just starting to wallop much of the East Coast has been christened “Snowzilla” by weather writers at The Washington Post.
That’s based mostly on a poll of readers and social media followers of the Post’s Capital Weather Gang, a group of writers and forecasters who report on weather conditions and explain the dynamics behind them — in a reader-friendly, occasionally playful, approach.
A little liberty was taken with the poll’s actual top vote-getter — “Make Winter Great Again.”
Though “certainly hilarious,” it just didn’t “make for a good name, or a good hashtag,” wrote Angela Fritz, the Post’s deputy weather editor and an atmospheric scientist. So the honors went to the runner up.
“Snowzilla makes so much sense to us because of its perfect nod to this ‘Godzilla’ El Nino,’ ” she wrote Friday on WashingtonPost.com. “And quite frankly, this could be a Godzilla-sized winter storm.”
The invitation for name submissions — issued Wednesday when it was pretty clear a blockbuster storm was heading their way — reminded readers of previous notable storms they helped name, including 2010s Snowmageddon and 2011’s Commutageddon.
In a disappointing note to Star Wars fans, Fritz wrote, “No, we will not be naming this storm ‘Snow Wars: The Winter Awakens.’ ”
In all, close to 10,900 votes were cast, 32 percent for Make Winter Great Again, 24 for the shorter, more hashtaggable Snowzilla. That’s in the poll, described as nonscientific, not statistically valid, and so on.
It was not quite clear what this might mean for The Weather Channel, which in 2012 took upon itself to name winter storms, choosing Jonas for this approaching one — not to be confused with last January’s Juno.
While some in the weather community say that spreading the word and warning the public can be helped by giving storms names, identities and, yes, hashtags, others point to issues, such as agreeing on criteria, name selection and the gimmicky aspect.
Last fall the Weather Channel said they would like to collaborate and are “willing to share our experiences, transition our system, and/or help set up an enterprise-wide naming system,” inviting others to “re-engage on this topic as a community.”
Still, what to do with the present storm’s dilemma?
Could there be a battle of blizzard names?
Or, possibly, a compromise? Anyone for Jozilla?