Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Jan Harris
Deputy Group Editor
1:00 AM 30th September 2023

Storm Names 2023/2024

Image by Joe from Pixabay
Image by Joe from Pixabay
Most of the UK during this last week has experienced the strong wind and heavy rain brought on by Storm Agnes, which is the first storm of the naming season. The storm season runs from September to August each year.

The Met Office, in partnership with Met Éireann and KNMI, have announced the new list of storm names for the 2023/24 season.

Agnes, Babet and Ciarán will be the first three named storms by the group this season.
Met Office contributions to the list include submissions from the public and names of those involved in responses to severe weather.
Naming storms helps to communicate the risks of severe weather.

Storms will get named by the group when they’re deemed to have the potential to cause ‘medium’ or ‘high’ impacts in the UK, Ireland or the Netherlands. Wind is the primary consideration for naming a storm, but additional impacts from rain or snow will also be considered in the naming process.

The group named two storms in the 2022/23 season, with Storms Antoni and Betty impacting the UK and Ireland in August. However, as per international agreements, the group also adopted the names Otto and Noa which were named by other meteorological organisations in February and April respectively and had residual impacts on the UK.

This year is the first time the list has broken with the traditional male/female ordering of names, in order to allow the inclusion of some of the more popular submitted names.

Met Office Head of Situational Awareness Will Lang, who leads responses in times of severe weather, said:
“This is the ninth year of us naming storms and we do it because it works. Naming storms helps to ease communication of severe weather and provides clarity when people could be impacted by the weather.

“This year, it’s great to be able to recognise the collaborative efforts of some of our partners across the UK with the inclusion of names from some partner organisations. Working across different agencies allows us to help as many people as possible be prepared for severe weather.”

The Met Office, Met Eireann and KNMI collate the list together. This year, Met Office suggestions include names of people who work to protect the public in times of severe weather, as well as submissions from the public.

Ciarán was submitted by the public but is also the name of Ciarán Fearon, who works for the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland. He uses Met Office forecasts on a regular basis and ensures relevant information is shared on river levels, coastal flooding and other impacts of severe weather.

Ciarán said:
“With the effects of climate change, we are more aware than ever of how weather can affect us all in every aspect of our daily lives. In my role with the Department for Infrastructure I work closely with local communities in Northern Ireland and multi-agency partners to help keep everyone as warned and informed as possible.

“We need to respect each weather event and this work, particularly during periods of severe weather and storms, helps to ensure that we are all as well prepared as possible to help reduce the impact of such events.”

Stuart Sampson is the Environment Agency’s Water Resources Security of Supply Manager and has helped manage water supplies through a series of droughts over nearly 20 years.

Stuart said:
“Our weather is a great conversation starter! Giving a storm a name means we can all talk about an event with a clear and common understanding. Everyone knows what you mean by Hurricane Katrina for example, you know the magnitude and impacts that had on America. But if you said ‘the low pressured cyclone’ it would not resonate as much. By naming storms, this will help everyone be better prepared and in the conversation.”

There are no storms with the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z. The Met Office says that this is to keep in line with the US National Hurricane Centre naming conventions. It also maintains consistency for the official storm naming in the North Atlantic.

Find out more here