Jay is inclined to call big, gale-y windstorms Northeasters, in part because the media probably made "nor'easter" up:
... The greatest piece of evidence in my favor is that national network TV people love to use 'Nor'easter', just as they loved 'The Curse,' a sure sign I'm right, or at least closer to the truth. ...
Good argument, but I still prefer "nor'easter," in part because it just sounds so Boston to me (growing up in Nooyawk, we had blizzards and big rainstorms, not "nor'easters"). But also, "Northeaster" just doesn't sound like a huge, fundamental force of nature - it sounds like the name of an Amtrak train ("now boarding on track 12, the Northeaster, making station stops in Providence, Westerly, Mystic, Old Saybrook, New Haven, Bridgeport, New York Pennsylvania Station and 30th Street Philadelphia, track 12").