Belfast Telegraph

Weather forecasters reveal names for storms over coming year

Aileen, Iona and Larry could be blowing into the UK and Ireland over coming months.

They are among the monikers which will be given to storms over the coming year, under a scheme to give names to the strongest weather systems by t he Met Office and Met Eireann.

The scheme aims to raise awareness of severe weather, and prompt people to take action to prevent harm to themselves and their property.

A storm is named when it is deemed to have the potential to cause medium or high impacts on the UK and/or Ireland.

Surveys conducted after named storms show increases in awareness and action, the forecasters said, with 89% of people polled after last year's Storm Doris aware of the severe weather.

Most (94%) of those aware of the storm had found the severe weather warnings useful, and 82% of those who had taken action felt they were right to do so.

Last year was relatively quiet, with just five storms named, from Angus in late November 2016 to Ewan at the end of February.

In comparison, 11 storms were named in the 2015/16 season, the first year of naming UK and Irish storms, beginning with Abigail in mid-November to Katie at the end of March.

Once again this year, the names have been compiled using suggestions from the public to the Met Office and Met Eireann.

Derrick Ryall, head of public weather services at the Met Office, said: "Last year was another successful pilot of the storm-naming project and it's great to be now making it operational.

"Naming storms has been proved to raise awareness of severe weather in the UK, crucially prompting people to take action to prevent harm to themselves or their property."

Gerald Fleming, head of forecasting at Met Eireann, said: "Last winter was a very quiet one weather-wise and we only worked our way through five named storms, from Angus to Ewan.

"While we have no idea yet as to whether the coming winter will be a stormy one or a quiet one, we are prepared with a whole new set of 21 names for whatever nature may throw at us.

"As before, Met Eireann forecasters will work in close co-operation with our colleagues from the UK Met Office to keep all the peoples of these islands warned of impending severe weather."

The forecasters said this year's storm season looked to be getting off to an unsettled start, with low pressure moving in from the west towards the end of the week and delivering a wet and windy weekend.

This year's names are: Aileen, Brian, Caroline, Dylan, Eleanor, Fionn, Georgina, Hector, Iona, James, Karen, Larry, Maeve, Niall, Octavia, Paul, Rebecca, Simon, Tali, Victor, Winifred.

Storms are not named using the letters Q, U, X, Y or Z in line with international naming conventions.

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