So What Snow Storm Is It This Week?


Wow, it is January and snow is finally on the ground. Pretty unusual for our area for late snow arrival. I know some places in the east really got blasted with winter storm Jonas with snow and ice. Winds are the main problem, Buffalo knows that well. Hope residents in those locations remain safe and warm.

Why did they start naming snow storms?


Every weather phenomena now gets a name, a ploy to get major national attention I guess. A novel idea for advertising for the Weather Channel. Yes, it is the only TV station in the United States that uses these names, insuring that you tune in to their coverage. Remember snowmadgeddon, the snow-pocalypse in 2010? The mid-Atlantic states got dumped on. Blizzard, category 3 storms like that become part of local legend and are not the invention of the Weather Channel.


We in the Buffalo area are pretty adept at coming up with clever names, like the Blizzard of 77, the October Surprise, and Snowvember. Even if we are basking in summer, Buffalonians know that winter is right around the corner and can’t wait for the national attention of their snow storms.

In fact, sometimes Buffalo media even makes a few innocent jokes at other weather media around the country who are exaggerating storms by using words like “historic,” “epic,” “significant” and “record-breaking” when on occasion, they are reporting just less than an inch of snow. It is sensationalized weather. Next post, see the weather at Niagara Falls. It is a post with images that will make you shiver. Yes, we know winter and love it!


The Weather Channel names winter storms where lots of people live and it becomes a ratings jackpot for them. The Buffalo region has the population to attract too. Other weather outlets are not so complimentary of this idea to name snow storms.

“In unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, The Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety and is doing a disservice to the field of meteorology and public service,” said Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather Founder and President.

Kinda makes sense from that perspective. In fact, the National Weather Service has no plans to consider the naming of winter storms. When the Weather Channel named its first storm three years ago, Athena, the National Weather Service issued a press release stating it would not recognize any of The Weather Channel’s names for winter storms.


I suppose the weather groups and media could reach some sort of compromise, but it gets awfully confusing having all these storm names.


A name might afford the weather system a personality, but does it raise awareness?  And does it have much social media benefit? It does become confusing because snow storms are erratic, often short-lived and don’t always show up even a few miles apart from each other. Snow enveloping Buffalo often does not even make a whimper here.  New storm patterns pop up in the same location sometimes, crisscrossing paths, but arriving from different directions. That makes naming storms a bit odd. What do they name them when we get that orgy of storms?


Watching the flakes fall, I started thinking about all those vacant bluebird boxes at my nature walk/birding haunts. Only a few more months and the bluebirds return.

Many ask if bluebirds go south for winter? Some stay in our area in forests, but most head south to return in spring. Makes sense when you figure how harsh winters can be in our area.

The little bluebirds in this post fill those snow-covered boxes come spring. We just have to wait until those named storms pass. Now, we settle for cardinals. Not a bad option either.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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37 Responses to So What Snow Storm Is It This Week?

  1. Just yesterday I was walking through our woods and spotted at least 10 bluebirds. I love seeing their flash of blue as they fly through the understory. I agree that the weather channels sensationalize weather events and down South we suffer from the boy that cried wolf syndrome. We get so use to them making such a big deal over nothing and we get called out by the nation for our overly cautious behavior. That being said, we live in a hilly terrain and don’t have the equipment that you do. We just enjoy being stuck at home. Tomorrow will be one of those days as we received rain, which turned into ice and a few inches of snow.

    • I love seeing the bluebirds and am happy they are enjoying their winter vacation. I know the South is ill-prepared for most winter storms. The way the weather has been the last few years, the country might need to prepare a bit better, especially here in the East. Ice is the worst. We are all on even keel with ice. My Jeep is great on almost all terrain, but ice. I just posted one of those good-natured jabs from one of our local weatherman on FB. I never post there, but it was funny and was exactly what I meant in the post.

  2. Maria F. says:

    Wow you shoot really nice bird images. It’s incredible how they use their boxes for shelter. I hope it goes well with them.

  3. Great post. Great images.

  4. lulu says:

    No bluebirds in Houston and now that I think about it, I’ve not seen cardinals either. It amazes me that some birds stay in cold climes and survive.

  5. The first cardinal photo: stunning detail of the underside of its tail feathers…
    Also: I agree about the national marketing frenzy on weather…geesh, enough already! We need local updates/emergency announcements and such, but not circus-event coverage.

    • Yes on local updates. I know we get that on the weather station, but sometimes we need it a bit more often when facing blizzards. I used to tune into the Weather Channel often, but less now that they got so commercial and sensationalized.

  6. Yes, your bird photos are wonderful, and I love how you were able to capture the snowflakes.

  7. swo8 says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how those little birds can stand up to the harsh winter weather. I wonder how many regret not going south, sometimes?

  8. Indie says:

    Beautiful pictures! We actually have some bluebirds that overwinter here, and I see them at the feeders first thing in the morning. I can’t stand how news and weather are a sensationalist thing now. It’s all about ratings and money, not about actual news and reporting, and I think the naming of winter storms is just plain ridiculous. I refuse to watch news channels or the Weather Channel anymore because of all the fear-mongering, and instead just read it all online.

    • I never had one at my feeder that I have seen. Of course I just fill and leave now. I used to watch them a few years back and get a real variety of birds, just not bluebirds. I agree, naming the storms is crazy. It is different when it is done locally like what they do in Buffalo, but they only name those mammoth ones.

  9. Naming of storms, naming of ouragans,,, I doesn’t bother me that much. I read a article about the names of storms ( and how Hurricanes With Female Names Kill More People 😀 People do really weird studies.

    Lovely pictures

    • I agree, people come up with some strange studies. It must be coincidence on the female storms killing more though. The only thing that bothers me is why they started doing it. It was all about ratings.

  10. You have snow storms and we’re having fires. I’ll be spending half of next week manning road blocks for the emergency services and feeling sad about the irreplaceable forests and 1000 year old trees lost forever.

    • Fires are terrible. Trees lost that old is a tragedy. I hope they get the fires under control and no one gets hurt. Snow storms can have loss of life too. I just heard some report on deaths from the storm. Older people without heat and cars in bad accidents. Not to mention high winds…

  11. David says:

    I love your red box photos. I think the Weather Channel is just looking for ratings when naming storms and trying to make themselves more important than they are. Giving accurate and timely weather information should be important enough and back stories do add interest but the the channel just has too many gimmicks to interest me. I mean they are famous for sending their reporters into hurricanes so they can get a shot of them standing at a 45 degree angle in the wind. What purpose does that serve other than to needlesly put them in danger and more importantly potentially put rescue workers in danger.

    • Thank you. I have to admit it is more interesting reporting when you see their reporters almost being blown off their feet. I like storm chaser video too. I am just glad not to be around those type of storms.

  12. nutsfortreasure says:

    Can not believe we are in the J’s already and so far we have 2″ a far cry from last year but the winter still has a bit to go before spring arrives in New England Cape Cod just got hammered I wish I was down walking the shore taking photos of course. Nice shots by the way!

  13. Denzil says:

    Lovely photos and some interesting nestboxes! Never seen nestboxes with a tapered base: ours over here (Europe) are all flat-bottomed boxes. Any reason for the pointy bottom design Donna?

  14. debsgarden says:

    It is laughable the way the media builds up potential snow events in my region, but that is because we have been ill prepared for some real winter storms in the past. We can easily deal with 100+ summer temps, but a half inch of snow covering a sheet of ice can be deadly. I agree that naming winter storms is overkill. Will we next be naming tornadoes?

    • Yes, but black ice can be even worse because you don’t see it until it is too late. I broke my leg on it in 2001. Now I am always too cautious on ice. I feel like I will fall all the time now. At the Falls today, I was on a lot of ice and was not very surefooted at all. My boots did not even help.

  15. Wonderful photos. I never really gave much thought to naming of storms. So how bad was it out there? We have hardly any snow left and now rain is in the forecast.

    • Not too bad here. The main storm missed us, no wind or major snowfall. We have snow piled up, but that is par for the course in our area. It will be melted by next week since rain is in the forecast.

  16. Very interesting that the Weather Channel is the entity naming the blizzard Jonas. I had no idea and thought it was along the lines of naming hurricanes. I don’t watch the weather channel but i look at on line so I guess that must be the same entity as the name Jonas was used. We got 30 inches of snow in the western suburbs when our yearly average is 23 in Philadelphia, (not sure what it is out here in the suburbs). People were really good about staying off the roads. We happened to be out when it started and it was the worst snow driving we have ever experienced even living in Maine 10 years, terrifying. The roads were all cleared when we got up on Sunday. Michael went into Center City today though and Chestnut Street is not plowed. The city has a lot more to deal with when a storm like this hits.

    • I heard you got a lot of snow and saw photos on line from Philadelphia. The city is a bit similar to NYC in that the heavy population of commuters make the narrow streets impassible when they get stuck in cars. NY’s governor and mayor were on TV at length trying to keep people home. Ice caused a lot of the headaches. Also the problem is not having enough places to dump the snow that is removed. I heard on the radio today that NYC has more snow to date than Buffalo. That really is something. They have 30″ where Buffalo so far is at 23″. I saw New Jersey really had it bad along the coast. Flooding was terrible. It was good you and Micheal got home safe. What is PA calling there big snowfall?

  17. Denise says:

    That last photograph of the red birdhouse is like a beautiful painting. I love it!

  18. My favorite, bluebirds!! I don’t pay any attention to those storm names…such drama…we have our own storms much worse coming off the lake. And we just watch and dig out….it is funny how I view winter so different than others who don’t experience lake effect storms, one after the other. I have come to love winter and the snow….although we have only had about a quarter of the snow we usually get.

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