After last weekend’s experience of the wind and rain of the first major storms of this autumn, I thought it would be a good time to check out the new list of storm names issued by the Met Office and Met Éireann for the coming season. After beginning with a ‘male’ storm named Ali, followed by a second ‘female’ storm named Bronagh, the list will continue by following the alternating male/female pattern established by the US National Hurricane Center in the 1970’s.
This season’s names have once again been compiled from a list of suggestions submitted by the public, choosing some of the most popular names but also selecting names that reflect the nations, culture and diversity of Britain and Ireland. As in previous years, Q, U, X, Y and Z will not be used, to comply with the international storm naming conventions.
The new list includes Callum, Deirdre, Kevin, Violet and Tristan – but the most unusual perhaps is Storm Idris, named after Idris Elba, the actor who is very much in the public eye at the moment. Tipped to become the first black James Bond, he has also enjoyed his debut as a film director and he also recently deejayed at the royal wedding. Let’s hope we don’t need to use all 21 different names!
First introduced in 2015, this is the fourth year the Met Office and Met Éireann (the meteorological service in the Irish Republic) have jointly run the ‘Name our Storms’ scheme, aimed at raising awareness of severe weather before it hits, therefore ensuring greater safety of the public. By attaching a name to a weather event, it has been found to help people track its progress, and also prepare people for and avoid dangers that might come along with it. In a recent YouGov survey, almost 80% of people questioned found giving storms a name useful for making them aware that the storm may have greater impacts than normal, with 63% agreeing that storm naming was useful to let them know to take action and prepare for the impacts of severe weather.
But do we really need to anthropomorphise our winter storms? Naming of storms has caused some controversy in meteorological circles, and many people believe that pumping the public up to siege mentality in order to prepare for Storm Humperdink or the like, is not necessary and possibly counter-productive.
It is planned to change the list of UK storm names each year, with the public being asked again for their suggestions. Maybe this would make an interesting homework for your students?
A storm will be named on the basis of ‘medium’ or ‘high’ potential impacts from wind but also include the potential impacts of rain and snow.
Read more on the Met Office web site: