With the likes of Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice dominating the headlines over the past few days, you might be left wondering why the two storms even have names in the first place.
This is everything you need to know.
What does the name Eunice mean?
According to the Dictionary, the name Eunice is “a female given name: from a Greek word meaning “good victory””.
Some famous Eunice’s include:
- Singer Eunice Kathleen Waymon, who you may know better as Nina Simone
- English actress Eunice Gayson, who is considered to have been the first Bond girl, starring opposite Sean Connery in Dr. No and From Russia With Love
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of US President JFK, and founder of the Special Olympics
- Eunice Murray, the Scottish suffrage campaigner and first Scottish woman to stand in the first election open to women in 1918
- Eunice Sum, a Kenyan middle-distance runner who was the 800 metres world champion in 2013
Why are storms given names?
The reasons that storms are given names is basically just for simplicity - the names allow the media and government organisations to effectively and clearly communicate information about a storm in a way that’s clear.
The Met Office says: “The naming of storms using a single authoritative system should aid the communication of approaching severe weather through media partners and other government agencies.
“In this way the public will be better placed to keep themselves, their property and businesses safe.”
Naming storms is still relatively new, with the Met Office only launching Name our Storms in 2015.
The US first began using female names for storms in 1953 and by 1978 both male and female names were used to identify Northern Pacific storms.
The National Ocean Service says: “Over time, it was learned that the use of short, easily remembered names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and reduces confusion when two or more tropical storms occur at the same time.
“In the past, confusion and false rumours resulted when storm advisories broadcast from radio stations were mistaken for warnings concerning an entirely different storm located hundreds of miles away.”
When is a storm given a name?
Not just any spell of bad weather is enough to warrant giving it a name. Instead, names are reserved for severe weather events.
The criteria that the Met Office uses to name a storm is based on its National Severe Weather Warnings service.
“This is based on a combination of both the impact the weather may have, and the likelihood of those impacts occurring,” the Met Office says.
A storm will be given a name once it has the potential to cause either an amber or a red warning. Other types of weather will also be considered - specifically rain, if its impact could lead to flooding as advised by the Environment Agency, SEPA and Natural Resources Wales flood warnings.
What will future storms be called?
So far in the UK we’ve had six named storms in the 2021/22 calendar, including Storm Eunice:
- Storm Arwen, which was named on 25 November 2021
- Storm Barra, which was named on 5 December 2021
- Storm Malik, which was named on 28 January 2022
- Storm Corrie, which was named on 29 January 2022
- Storm Dudley, which was named on 14 February 2022
The rest of the names that have been determined for storms in 2022 are:
The names for storms go in alphabetical order and take turns switching between male and female names.
Why are there no names beginning with Q, U, X, Y and Z?
The Met Office says that in order to remain in line with US National Hurricane Centre naming conventions, names which begin with Q, U, X, Y and Z will be excluded from the list of eligible names for storms.
It explains: “This will maintain consistency for official storm naming in the North Atlantic.”
The US National Hurricane Centre issues a rotating list of names for storms every six years, and every six years, the list starts over again. The organisation has said that there aren’t enough names beginning with Q, U, X, Y or Z to rotate every six years.
Who chooses the names - and can I suggest a name for a storm?
Every year, the Met Office asks the public to suggest possible names, with a new list published every year. The list runs from early September to late August the following year.
This time period was selected as it coincides with the start of autumn when the likelihood of low pressure systems and the potential for named storms increase.
The list of names is compiled jointly between Met Éireann, the Met Office and KNMI (The Dutch national weather forecasting service).
Members of the public can suggest names by emailing [email protected]
The names that are chosen are meant to be “popular names and names that reflect the diversity of Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands”.
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