The storm is expected to pepper the Northeast with a foot of snow Tuesday

By Nate Jones
January 21, 2014 12:05 PM
Robin Wright/Getty

Three weeks after winter storm Hercules dumped a foot of snow on the Midwest and Northeast, another name emerges from antiquity to pummel America with snow: Janus, a winter storm traveling up the East Coast Tuesday.

(The National Weather Service does not name winter storms – Hercules and Janus are inventions of The Weather Channel – but in the social-media age, having a specific name for a storm can be useful.)

Below, every question you may have about Janus, answered.

First Hercules, now Janus. What’s with all those Greek names?

They’re Roman, actually, and there’s no reason. The Weather Channel just decided it would be that way.

So Janus, huh? That name sounds familiar.

It should! Janus was the Roman god of beginnings and endings, and he’s what they named January after.

A January 2014 calendar

Wait, he looked like a calendar?

No, of course not. Janus had two faces: one looking forward, one looking backward.


Like this kitten!

A cat with two faces, named Frank and Louie, walks down the street in Worcester, Mass., in 2011
Steven Senne/AP

Yes, exactly like this kitten. Also, there was once a two-headed turtle named Janus who lived in Geneva:

Janus, the Geneva Museum of Natural History’s two-headed Greek tortoise, celebrates its 10th birthday in 2007
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty

Wasn’t Janus also the name of the bad guy in GoldenEye?

Yes, good memory. Sean Bean played Alec “Janus” Trevelyan in the 1995 James Bond film. (He assumed the name because of his two-faced nature.)

Sean Bean stars as Alec Trevelyan in the 1995 film GoldenEye

I used to play as him in the video game.

Cool story. Do you have any actual questions about the storm?

I do! Mostly, how much snow will I get?

It varies. New England will get the worst, but the Boston-Washington corridor can expect 6 to 12 inches, while parts of Maine, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Ohio can expect around 3 inches. Also, you probably shouldn’t try to fly: 2,000 flights have been canceled.

The Weather Channel's map of the path of winter storm Janus
Courtesy The Weather Channel

Yikes. What should I do instead?

If you can, why not stay inside and watch this 7-year-old piano prodigy on Ellen?



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