Where were you when lake-effect storm Holstein hit in February?
Or perhaps you better recall lake-effect storm Anaconda that struck in November 2010.
A little known fact in Mark Monmoniers new book, Lake Effect, is that the National Weather Service office in Buffalo names lake-effect storms.
But naming the storms doesnt resemble the naming of hurricanes. Since the 1995-96 winter season, lake- effect storms have been named after the events have ended to make it easy for reference purposes at the Buffalo NWS office. Beginning in the 1998-99 season, the office switched to yearly themes.
The names are not referenced in any public product, warning or statement as the event unfolds, said Judith M. Levan, warning coordinator meteorologist in Buffalo. Storms are named only after the event has ended.
Last season, the theme was bovines. Other themes have been snakes, trees, birds, minerals and famous scientists.
The themes arent publicized in advance, so no word from the NWS on the 2012-13 theme.
But once the first storm is over, it will be pretty obvious what it is, Ms. levan said.
A weather event reaches lake effect storm status when it reaches warning criteria of 7 inches of snow in 12 hours or less, or 9 inches or more in 24 hours.
The alphabetized storm names in the themes have not reached beyond the beginning letter N.
To view a list of lake effect storm names over the years, go to www.erh.noaa.gov/buf/lakepage.php
The naming of the lake effect storms by the Buffalo NWS office is different than a plan by the Weather Channel, which announced this fall it would begin to name noteworthy winter storms.
The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation, according to the Weather Channel.