A Crazy Ivan is a west-moving storm, shower, etc.  It’s “crazy” because it’s going the opposite direction storms usually move. It doesn’t often happen.

This is not (yet) an official weather term. We made it up.

(Note: we do not make up watches, warnings, radar images, storm details, mesoscale discussions, storm directions, and weather related stuff like that. We get all that stuff from somewhere else, for example: NWS, radar, SPC, etc. Also, we did not invent Twitter. Or the internet. But we invented this term as it applies to the weather).

We got the idea for calling west-moving weather a “Crazy Ivan” from The Hunt for Red October — a great Tom Clancy book and an almost-as-good movie, starring Sean Connery and thin/young Alec Baldwin.

Here’s the trailer. The payoff is at the 1:59 mark.

Here is the movie reference:

Seaman Jones: Conn, sonar! Crazy Ivan!

Capt. Bart Mancuso: All stop! Quick quiet!

[the ships engines are shut down completely]

Beaumont: What’s goin’ on?

Seaman Jones: Russian captains sometime turn suddenly to see if anyone’s behind them. We call it “Crazy Ivan.” The only thing you can do is go dead. Shut everything down and make like a hole in the water.

Beaumont: So what’s the catch?

Seaman Jones: The catch is, a boat this big doesn’t exactly stop on a dime… and if we’re too close, we’ll drift right into the back of him.

If you want to get technical* about it, the Urban Dictionary defines “Crazy Ivan” as:

1. In the book and movie “The Hunt for Red October”, a sharp turn made by a Russian submarine to look behind it with sonar. 2. By analogy, any quick, unexpected and radical change in direction, literally or metaphorically.
1. She’s pulling a Crazy Ivan! All stop! 2. They’re out of tickets. Crazy Ivan–let’s go to the bar.

(* if you think consulting the Urban Dictionary means you’re getting technical).

So, technically, a Crazy Ivan should mean a storm that makes a sharp turn. But, for our weather purposes, we take a more generalized view of it: a Crazy Ivan is a storm or other weather feature that’s simply going the “wrong” way, from <-<-east-to-west–|.

Editor’s Note: Crazy Ivan is also an awesome band (with fans) that covers My Sharona. Proof: