WARWICK, RI — It reads like the roster for a fifth-grade classroom: Aiden, Dylan, Grayson, Kalani, Riley, Toby, and Zoey.
And that’s apparently by design, as The Weather Channel selected the list of winter storm names for 2017-18 from the most popular baby names.
This winter marks the fifth year that TWC has created a media-friendly shorthand for snow events that affect more than 2 million U.S. residents or about 250,000 sq. mi. [400,000 sq. km] | Read: The science behind naming winter storms
And while some prior years have included names of planets [that provided some hilarious headlines], this year’s collection is a bit more conventional.
[As of Jan. 3, we’re up to Grayson.]
Here’s the list of names for this winter season, along with The Weather Channel’s notes on the selections and some other associations, both good and bad, that people might make:
Aiden – From an Old Irish name meaning “fire.” Irony alert!
Benji – Short for Benjamin, an old Hebrew name meaning “son of the south.” The reference to the south would be ironic, except there’s snow in Florida this year.
Chloe (KLO-ee) – From Greek, it is a reference to blooming or the young green shoot of a new plant. After three storms, the hopes of seeing anything green are already fading.
Dylan – From Welsh words meaning “great tide.” The way snow rolls off a plow blade kind of looks like a wave, doesn’t it?
Ethan – From a Hebrew name meaning “strong,” “solid” or “firm.” The hope of skiers, snowboarders, and sledders: A firm base.
Frankie – A nickname for Frank, Francis or Frances from the Germanic tribe the Franks. Also refers to honesty, as in “Let’s be frank, this snow is getting tiresome.”
Grayson – From the Middle English word that meant steward plus son. Last name of Dick Grayson, also known as Robin in the Batman comics. Lends itself to headlines like ‘Boy, Wonder How Much Snow We’ll Get.’
Hunter – From the time when people in England were named for their work. Let’s all hope we don’t have to return to hunting as a result of all this snow.
Inga – Related to the name of a people who lived on the North Sea called the Ingaevones. Also the name of every Norwegian lady you meet in a hot tub.
Jaxon – From the son of Jack, which was a nickname for John in the Middle Ages. The #7 most popular baby name for 2018; look for a whole bunch of Jaxons to be born around October this year.
Kalani – From the Hawaiian words meaning the plus heaven or sky. Could also be the name of a rum used in Mai-Tais.
Liam – From Irish, a short form of William, which comes from German. If we’re buried in enough snow, you can watch a whole bunch of Liam Neeson movies, like “Ted 2” and “Taken 3.”
Mateo (muh-TAY-o) – The Spanish form of Matthew, which is distantly derived from the Hebrew word for gift. No one thinks snow is a gift except plow drivers and kids who get an extra day off in January.
Noah – Derived from the Hebrew word meaning “rest.” Also the name of a biblical figure who built a boat to survive a flood; not the best association to make when discussing potential snow storms.
Oliver – The English form of the French name Olivier. Charles Dickens also used it for his character Oliver Twist, who famously asked, “Please, sir, may I have some more?” Very likely not what people will be asking if we get this far in the list.
Polly – From Molly, which is an old nickname for Mary. Generally associated with parrots, which seems fitting for all of the TV weather people who repeat the same warnings over and over.
Quinn – Derived from an Irish Gaelic word meaning “chief” or “counsel.” Another possible comic book inspiration, Harley Quinn.
Riley – Derived from Reilly, which comes from the Old Irish name Raghailleach. If we get this deep into the list, we’ll be pronouncing it “really?!”
Skylar – A modified version of Tyler merged with the word sky. Can be used for both boys and girls; reached its peak of popularity in 2017, ranked #40 for girls’ names. Has not ranked higher than #500 in boys’ names since 2009.
Toby – Derived from Tobias, a name from old versions of the Bible. A preferred pipe-weed by Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings, “Old Toby.”
Uma (OO-ma) – From multiple cultures including the Sanskrit word meaning “tranquility.” May refer to the silence that follows a massive snowfall.
Violet – Originally from the name for the Latin name for the flower, viola. Title of a popular Christmas-related song, Violet in the Snow.
Wilbur – Mr. Ed’s owner in the TV show about a talking horse. For those under 50, it’s also the name of the pig in E.B. White’s classic Charlotte’s Web.
Xanto – From the Ancient Greek name Xanthus meaning “blonde.” Watch out for the blonde snow.
Yvonne (ee-VONN) – Related to a nickname for the Old French name Yves, which came from the name of a type of wood used to make bows. Another hunting reference that one hopes won’t come true.
Zoey – Derived from the Greek word for life. Spring is only 12 weeks away.
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