Hopefully not coming our way: Storms Barra, Méabh, Pól and Seán

UK, Irish and Dutch met offices name their storms for the 2021-2022 season

Storm Brendan batters Clontarf, January 2020. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Storm Brendan batters Clontarf, January 2020. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

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Autumn is almost upon us, and with it comes the names for the storm season 2021-2022.

The list reflects the tripartite influence of Met Éireann, the UK Met office and Dutch weather service KNMI.

There are four Irish names on the list – Barra, Méabh, Pól and Seán – though only Barra is likely to get used. Fortunately, all the fadas are in the right place.

Diarmuid lost out to Dudley, reflecting the popularity of the latter name through the Harry Potter franchise.

North Atlantic storms were first given names in 2014 to raise awareness in the public about potential dangers.

The furthest down the alphabet they got in any year was K (Storm Katie) in the exceptionally busy 2015-2016 season, which saw 11 different named Atlantic storms. By contrast there were only five named storms in the last meteorological year (September to September).

Met Éireann’s head of forecasting, Evelyn Cusack, said it had only one Irish-named storm last winter: Storm Aiden at Halloween.

“We are now preparing for the autumn and winter months ahead with a new list of storm names for 2021-22 and for whatever weather may come to our shores,” she said.

“Once again Met Éireann will continue to work with our national weather service colleagues in the UK and Netherlands, by continuing to provide a clear and consistent message to the public and encouraging people to take action to prevent harm to themselves or to their properties at times of severe weather.”

End of the world

The first storm to be named by the group this year will be Arwen, thought to be of Welsh origin and popularised by Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books.

BBC Northern Ireland’s popular weather presenter Barra Best said he was not sure if his name was the inspiration for the storm beginning with the letter B, “but I know very few other Barras. There used to an attorney general called Barra McGrory, and myself, and that’s it.

“For the last five years people have been asking when Storm Barra is going to come. I joke that Storm Barra is going to be the storm that ends the world.”

He said it was a “sure-fire bet” that there would be a Storm Barra as even the quietest of years have more than two storms.

The names used by the Met Office were chosen from a list of 10,000 provided by the British public.

They include Logan because one member of the public said his grandson “runs through the house like a tornado”. A cat who “comes in and acts like a storm”, has also found her name on the list, with Storm Ruby making the final cut, though it really will feel like the end of the world if 17 storms occur in order to get to that letter.

Names were selected on a range of criteria, including whether it was being used by other storm-naming groups, whether there had been significant impacts from previous storms with the same name and if the name had already been used in recent years by the group.

THE LIST OF NAMES IN FULL

Arwen, Barra, Corrie, Dudley, Eunice, Franklin, Gladys, Herman, Imani, Jack, Kim, Logan, Méabh, Nasim, Olwen, Pól, Ruby, Seán, Tineke, Vergil, Willemien