The first official named UK Storm is coming this evening.
In September the UK Met Office and Met Eireann in Ireland asked for the public’s help to suggest names for their pilot project “Name Our Storm”. The purpose of this is to increase public awareness and therefore, improve public safety during severe storms.
When a yellow, amber or red warning for wind has been issued a storm will be given a name. The pattern of names follows that of the Atlantic Tropical Storm and Hurricane naming system. Twenty one names in alphabetical order that will alternate from female to male; excluding the letters “Q”, “U”, “X” and “Z”. To prevent any confusion, if a storm hitting the UK is the remnants of a hurricane it will keep its original name; for example when Hurricane Kate comes to the UK it will be known as Ex-hurricane Kate.
Names for the UK and Ireland Autumn and winter storm season 2015/16 are: Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude, Henry, Imogen, Jake, Kate, Lawrence, Mary, Nigel, Orla, Phil, Rhonda, Steve, Tegan, Vernon and Wendy.
Abigail is a deep low pressure system (a depression) moving southwesterly from the Atlantic, bringing moist tropical air. She is expected to have gusts of winds 60mph -70mph and potentially reach 90mph in some areas. Lightning, heavy rain and high tides are also expected; leading to potential flooding, travel disruptions, structural damage and potential power cuts.
The UK Met Office have issued a yellow weather warning for central and northern Scotland, valid from 18:00 this evening (Thursday 12th November) to 23:00 tomorrow night (Friday 13th November). For the Western Isles, Northwest Scotland, Orkney and Shetland Islands an Amber warning has been issued; valid from 18:00 this evening to 12:00 tomorrow afternoon.
It is important to understand what these warnings actually mean. Yellow – be aware of the severe weather going to affect you and start making plans for potential disruptions; you need monitor the weather forecast in case it gets worse. Amber – be prepared to change your plans as there is an increased risk of the bad weather affecting you.
The naming of storms should not only help improve public safety and awareness, it should also make it easier to recognise which weather system is being referred to when looking at weather forecasts.