When does a storm get named?
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.
So storms will be named for weather systems which is expected to result in the Met Office issuing an amber or red warning.
These two warnings carry a potential risk to life.
Why do storms need names?
There’s nothing British people enjoy more than talking about the weather and in 2015, they were given the chance to develop an even closer connection by giving names to major weather systems affecting the UK and Ireland.
In September 2016, the Met Office invited members of the public to submit names for storms for autumn/winter 2015/16 by social media.
The idea behind the pilot project was to help raise awareness of severe weather before it strikes and to ensure greater safety of the public.
Attaching a name to a weather event has been found to help people track its progress, to allow people to prepare for and avoid danger and to make it easier to reference on social media.
Didn’t we already give names to storms?
Before the new system was introduced, naming was random, with the same storm sometimes being referred to by several different names.
The St Jude’s Storm of October 2013, which led to the deaths of four people, was so-called because it was due to arrive on St Jude’s Day.
In Britain, we also hear about a number of ex-hurricanes that arrive at our shores from across the Atlantic.
Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. These lists are maintained and updated every year by the international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. There are six lists that are used in rotation.
As with the US system, the new naming system in Britain runs through the alphabet with alternate male and female names.
There are no storms that begin with the less common letters Q, U, X, Y or Z.
The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is particularly deadly or costly, such as Hurricane Katrina, which claimed nearly 2,000 lives in the United States and caused more than £65 billion in damage.
If a storm is the remnants of a tropical storm or hurricane that has moved across the Atlantic, the already established method of referring to it as, for example “Ex-hurricane X”, will continue.
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