A new list of storm names for the 2020-21 storm season in the UK and Ireland have been published today.
Aiden will kick-off the winter storms this year, followed by Bella, Christoph and Darcy.
Julia, Gavin, Oscar, Minnie, the Welsh name Heulwen and Irish name Saidhibhín have also made the list.
The names are chosen by the Met Éireann, the UK Met Office and the Dutch National Weather Service (KNMI) based on suggestions from the public and particularly includes some names that reflect the three nations’ diversity. The names are in alphabetical order, alternating between genders. Names beginning with Q, U, X, Y and Z are not used.
Naming storms was first introduced by Met Éireann and the UK Met Office in 2015 and joined by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) in 2019 forming the West group.
However, other storm names can blow in. Once a storm is named by any National Met Service globally, that name is retained if the storm moves into our waters. For example: Ophelia and Lorenzo were named by the National Hurricane Center (NHC, USA) and Emma by IPMA (Portugal).
Storms are named to raise awareness of severe weather and help the public keep safe from storms.
Evelyn Cusack is Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann and is also Chair of the European Met Services’ Storm Naming Working Group. She said: ‘The naming of storms by National Met Services (as well as colour coding weather warnings as Yellow, Orange or Red) provides a clear, authoritative and consistent message to the public and prompts people to take action to prevent harm to themselves or to their property.’
Evelyn adds: ‘The storm names also add an extra interest for people with particular excitement in a family when one of their names appears in the list. We mostly pick names that can be easily pronounced but some are less generally recognised. Perhaps (hopefully!) we won’t get as far as Heulwen, a striking Welsh girl’s name, but for the non-Welsh among us we have included an aide to pronounce it just in case (Hail –wen). But although I would love in theory to be able to use the Irish name Saidhbhín if we get that far down the list it will have been a really punishing season!