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What’s in a name?  If it’s named Boreas or Cleon, it could be freezing temperatures, several feet of snow and hurricane-force winters capable of downing power lines and making travel treacherous.  These are the names of the future winter storms of 2013/2014. Already, Winter Storm Atlas delivered several feet of snow from the northern Rockies to the northern High Plains in early October.  Boreas will be next. 

Last year, The Weather Channel started naming winter storms much like hurricanes.  Primarily from Greek and Roman mythology, the storm names for 2013-14 were chosen from lists provided by Bozeman (Mont.) High School’s Latin Club. 

In meteorology’s early days, United States storms were named with a latitude / longitude designation representing the location where the storm originated.  While not the easiest names to remember, it was even more difficult to communicate about the storms. During World War II, military meteorologists working in the Pacific began to use women's names for storms, which made communication about hazardous weather much easier.  That’s why in 1953 this naming method was adopted by the National Hurricane Center for use on storms originating in the Atlantic Ocean, making communication easier and increasing public awareness dramatically.

According to The Weather Channel, its decision to name winter storms resulted for the same reason – making communication easier and more effective.  Especially on social media platforms, discussing a storm by name makes it easier to get across important warns and updates.  For instance, storm-name hashtags have been used with tropical storms and hurricanes for years.  Winter Storm Nemo, which blasted the northeastern US and parts of Canada in February 2013, received some billion-plus impressions on Twitter.

Good communications benefits everyone, especially in preparing for and staying safe in extreme weather.  An ISO study shows that from 1992-2011, winter storms resulted in about $28 billion in insured catastrophe losses (in 2011 dollars), or more than $1 billion a year on average.  

From roofs collapsing under the weight of heavy snow to water damage caused by melting snow or blocked drainage, many winter-related disasters and property damage can be prevented.  XL Global Asset Protection Service (XL GAPS) offers some useful tips to help businesses minimize the potential of property damage that could halt their operations.Download the information and tips:  Winter Weather Preparation

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  • Senior Loss Prevention Consultants, AXA XL Risk Consulting
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