FROM Fionn and Emma to Aileen and Hector… Brits are becoming accustomed to UK storms being given names like they are in the US.
The naming of storms has long been common in America and now we too are christening severe weather systems. This is how it all works.
FreelancePhotosNWales Storm Doris, which struck in February 2017, severely damaged Colwyn Bay Pier, which dates from 1900
Why are some UK storms given names?
Analysis has shown that naming storms makes people more aware of the severe weather and helps them prepare in advance.
So the Met Office and its Irish counterpart Met Eireann decided to follow the US system of giving girls and boys’ names to tropical storms and hurricanes.
In the winter season of 2016/17, the names included Angus, Barbara, Conor and Doris.
Surveys showed people were more aware of the threat and more likely to take action after hearing the name of a storm, rather than a forecast simply saying bad weather is on the way.
Getty Images A monster wave crashes onto a train in Ayrshire, Scotland as Storm Barbara hit Britain’s coastline in 2016
For example, 89 per cent of people said they were aware of the approaching Storm Doris – which wreaked havoc in February 2017 – and 94 per cent said warnings were useful.
The Met Office and Met Eireann’s joint list of names for 2017/2018 includes Larry, Victor and Hector among the male choices, with Georgina, Octavia and Winifred among the female names.
As in the US system, they follow in alphabetical order with alternating male and female names. A male name, Angus, was first last year so this year the first is female, Aileen.
How are UK storms chosen?
A total of 21 names were chosen by Met Office and Met Eireann – whittled down from a total of more than 10,000 suggestions submitted by the public.
One name was picked for each letter of the alphabet, apart from Q, U, X, Y and Z.
Every major storm will be named according to the list, ordered alphabetically.
What’s in a name?
The Met Office’s list of storm names for the 2017/2018 season:
Fionn (F-yunn) (assigned)
So Aileen is first followed by Brian, then Caroline, then Dylan and so on.
The 2017 Autumn storm season kicked off with Storm Aileen and was then followed by Storm Brian.
After those ones came Storm Caroline, while Dylan and Eleanor hit over the Christmas and New Year period.
However – there was a slight glitch to the system in Storm Emma – so why was it different to what’s next on the list?
The answer is that Storm Emma was named by the Portuguese met office as that is where the storm originated.
Because it has been named by a national meteorological service, the weather system retains its name as it crosses international borders.
Storm Hector is the latest UK storm, set to bring 70mph gusts of wind across the country when it hits around June 14 – with fears of powercuts and torrential downpours.
When is a storm named?
Whether a storm is considered big enough to have its own name comes down to the probable impact on people in Britain and Ireland.
A storm will be named when it has the potential to cause an amber “be prepared” or red “take action” warning.
Other weather types will also be considered, specifically rain if its impact could lead to flooding as advised by the Environment Agency, SEPA and Natural Resources Wales flood warnings.
Therefore storms systems could be named on the basis of impacts from wind but also include the impacts of rain and snow.