#NameourStorms is back, love it or hate it, the new list has been issued. Ranging from Ali, Deirdre and Kevin to Max, Niamh and Peggy. It’s all about communicating severe weather information across the UK and Ireland.
“Naming storms has been proven to raise awareness of severe weather in the UK, providing a consistent message to the public and crucially prompting people to take action to prevent harm to themselves or to their property” said Derrick Ryall, Head of Public Weather Services at the Met Office.
This will be the fourth year of this project, you may remember Storms such as Desmond, Doris and Hector. When the project started it only covered wind storms but now the names relate to low pressures that are forecast to have significant impacts. Impacts on Ireland and/or the UK due to strong winds, heavy rain or snow.
“A storm, (a low pressure) will be named based on 'medium' or 'high' potential impacts from wind but also include the potential impacts of rain and snow, i.e. storms will be named for weather systems which we expect an Amber or Red warning will eventually be issued by Met Éireann and/or the UK Met Office. “
Names were sort from the public a few years ago and they received thousands, so they have been picking off this list.
Five letters are always missed out, in the same way as the US Hurricane Centre name their hurricanes. So, no Q, U, X, Y, Z names, sorry. Systems linked to ex-hurricanes which have already been named elsewhere in the Atlantic will remain ex <Name> like ex-Ophelia did in 2017.
Another potential upset for this list are the European names. France, Spain and Portugal have set up a naming contingent with their meteorological offices, you may remember Emma and David last year and Germany have had a business for a while naming low and high pressures. Depending on who names first, will result in a low pressure getting labelled. Are you keeping up, it’s not easy?
Also Met Eireann issue their Amber warnings in a different way to the UK Met Office. often last year it did seem that every low pressure grazing Irish shores were being named with no impact on the UK at all and as a result, the whole process became a bit unpopular. Communications between Met Eireann and the UK Met Office seemed a bit weak as sometimes reading twitter was the quickest way to find out that something had been named by ME.
Of course, there will also be the tabloid, jumping the gun game, even the press Embargo around the names wobbled briefly on Tuesday morning. Certain papers and writers take it upon themselves to announce the next stormname on the list for any low pressure heading our way (as happened with Brian). Just wait. Forecasting it is tricky, things change, confidence can be low but with the potential for big impacts. Don’t muck about with the message, the names are supposed to help people understand and get their attention before severe weather. Then they can think about their plans and prepare. Too many falses alarms and no-one will pay attention.
What would also help broadcasters get the message out there would be consideration of broadcast times by the met services. This may be less important in our social media world of constant updates and never-ending beeping, but the morning and evening news still has a dedicated audience. Issuing a name at 0910 or 2235 is enormously frustrating.
As we head further away from summer, more low pressures are heading towards the UK. September will probably give us #StormAli, there are a few areas of interest on the pressure charts even by next week. Just wonder how many we’ll get through through this season? Wyn and Violet look very unlikely but then it has been a very unusual year.
Met Office Storm centre has a list of all the past Storms and their effects, this is also the place to check if a storm has been officially named, as well as here at Netweather. Social Media @MetEireann @emergencyIE @MetOffice.
Any thoughts on the whole #NameourStorms project? There is a thread in the Netweather Community forum and as each Storm appears, there will be a new discussion.