When Storm Henry hit the headlines recently, I really started to wonder where on earth its name came from.
In fact, storm naming in the UK and Ireland is a practice set up by the Met Office and Met Eireann – and it’s not just done for fun. The Met Office believes by giving names to extreme patches of weather, the safety warnings are more likely to be noticed by the public.
Derrick Ryall, Head of the Public Weather Service at the Met Office explained: “We have seen how naming storms elsewhere in the world raises awareness of severe weather before it strikes. We hope that naming storms in line with the official severe weather warnings here will do the same and ensure everyone can keep themselves, their property and businesses safe and protected at times of severe weather.”
But do Met Office staff sit around with a baby naming book each time a storm hits, and who decides which name is the best?
Actually, members of the public were invited to join in the fun by sending suggestions to the Met Office at the end of last year.
The storm names were then compiled into a list will be used in alphabetical order, alternating between male and female names.
The list or storm names for autumn and winter 2015/16 were decided as Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude, Henry, Imogen, Jake, Katie, Lawrence, Mary, Nigel, Orla, Phil, Rhonda, Steve, Tegan, Vernon and Wendy.
Let’s hope we don’t get as far as Wendy though, as this little island of ours has experienced quite enough storm damage this winter already.