Met Éireann appealing for names for next season’s storms

Initiative running since 2015 and is designed to raise awareness of major storms

Large waves break over the south pier in Arklow, Co Wicklow during Storm Diana in November 2017. Photograph: Garry O’Neill

Large waves break over the south pier in Arklow, Co Wicklow during Storm Diana in November 2017. Photograph: Garry O’Neill

 

Met Éireann is appealing to the public to offer suggestions for names for next season’s storms.

The “name our storms” initiative has been running since 2015 in conjunction with the UK Met Office. This year, the KNMI in the Netherlands is also taking part in the collaboration.

The names selected go through the alphabet with alternate male and female names. There no storms for Q, U, X, Y or Z to comply with US National Hurricane Centre naming conventions and maintain consistency for official storm naming in the North Atlantic.

Storms that elicit a status orange or red status from forecasting offices are names as they are deemed to have the potential to cause a substantial impact.

Met Éireann said on Tuesday it had been “blown away” by the response to its appeal.

Meteorologist Evelyn Cusack said the initiative was designed to increase public awareness of status orange and status red weather warnings.

“By giving a weather event a reference point and a character people find it easier to be aware of them,” she said.

“So, rather than saying, for example, winds will reach 130kp/h we can say that Storm Stephen will move in over Ireland giving us very severe and damaging gusts. This gets the message across better than just giving the actual numbers.

“The process begins every summer when we draft a list based on suggestions from the public. We try not to use very long or very complicated names and will name a storm when status orange or status red wind thresholds are expected.”

Controversy

Ms Cusack said that not all named storms will appear on its list.

“For example, Storm Ophelia was named by the Hurricane Centre in Miami because in fact it was a hurricane,” she said.

“Storm Emma was named by the Portuguese Met Office. It approached Ireland from the Azores.”

Ms Cusack also said there has sometimes been controversy over a chosen name.

“Barney, used in 2016, is more commonly associated with a purple carton dinosaur, and perhaps wasn’t taken as seriously as it might have been,” she said. “Thankfully the storm was at the lower end of the scale and nobody was injured.

“Please remember that if a storm has a name it must be taken seriously. Think of your safety, the safety of your family and others, and remember to protect your property.”

The closing date for entries is August 9th and the new storm names will be revealed on September 2nd.

People can make suggestions on Twitter by using #IrishStormNames, or by contacting Met Éireann on Facebook.

It is also possible to email suggestions to stormnames@met.ie or to write to Evelyn Cusack at Met Éireann, Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9, D09 Y921.