I was prompted by a conversation with one of my friends on Facebook to take a look at who’s talking about the most-recently-named winter storm on Twitter and why. Amongst one of the first results was this from an unfortunately confused person who believes the National Weather Service is responsible for this:
That led me to see whether this was an isolated misunderstanding or something bigger. I searched Twitter for “NWS” and “Gandolf” and found it was not at all isolated. Most folks seem to think the NWS spelled “Gandolf” with an ‘o’ (after the character from the 1896 novel, The Well at the World’s End) instead of with an ‘a’ (after the wizard from the Tolkien novels) to avoid copyright lawsuits, but there are myriad examples of people who believe the NWS is behind this storm-naming business in its entirety:
As a refresher, the National Weather Service neither names winter storms nor uses the names proffered by media:
The Weather Channel stated they wanted to reduce confusion by naming winter storms; unfortunately, they have done the exact opposite.