Winter storm naming in the United Kingdom and Ireland

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Abigail 11:55 UTC, 12 November 2015

The United Kingdom's Met Office, in collaboration with its Irish counterpart Met Éireann, decided to introduce a storm naming system following the St Jude's day storm on 27–28 October 2013 which caused 17 deaths in Europe[1][2] and the 2013–14 Atlantic winter storms in Europe to give a single, authoritative naming system to prevent confusion with the media and public using different names for the same storms.[3]

The first windstorm to be named was Abigail on 10 November 2015.[4]


The objectives behind the decision were to:

  • Raise awareness of the dangers of storms
  • Ensure greater public safety
  • Avoid confusion if the name of the remnant of a tropical storm is used, for instance “the ex-hurricane Joaquin that reached Europe earlier this month.”
  • Involve the public
  • Operate with a common cross border system

The names will be used on predicted large-scale, cyclonic windstorms with potential for significant land-based wind impacts. This may result in names being allocated to events that are below the traditional Beaufort scale definition of a storm.[5]


A storm will be named when it is deemed able to have a "substantial" impact on the UK or Ireland. Met Éireann names any storm which triggers a status Orange or Red weather warning focusing on wind,[6] though consideration was also given to rain and snow events in 2016–17.[7] The basis for such as outlined on their weather warning service are mean wind speeds in excess of 40 mph (65 km/h) or gusts over 68 mph (110 km/h).[8] Similarly, the Met Office name storms that have the potential to cause medium (Amber) or high (Red) impacts to the UK. It describes the wind strength relative to observations such as "falling trees or tiles and other items like garden furniture being blown around and even a number of properties left without electrical power."[9]

Status Amber or Status Red weather warnings will be applied to named storms.[5]

In the case of ex-tropical storms or hurricanes, the original name allocated by the US National Hurricane Center in Miami will continue to be used.[5] This happened when Ex-Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland and Britain in October 2017, although Brian was the next scheduled name on the list.

The less common letters Q, U, X, Y and Z will not be used, in common with the US hurricane warning system.[5]

In September 2015, the two Met offices consulted the public via a "Name our storms" campaign and chose the first batch of names.[10]

Winter storm names[edit]

2015–16 names[11]
2015–16 Abigail Barney Clodagh Desmond Eva Frank Gertrude Henry Imogen Jake Katie
Lawrence Mary Nigel Orla Phil Rhonda Steve Tegan Vernon Wendy ref [5][12]
2016–17 names[13]
2016–17 Angus Barbara Conor Doris Ewan Fleur Gabriel Holly Ivor Jacqui Kamil
Louise Malcolm Natalie Oisín Penelope Robert Susan Thomas Valerie Wilbert
2017–18 names[14]
2017–18 Aileen Brian Caroline Dylan Eleanor Fionn Georgina Hector Iona James Karen
Larry Maeve Niall Octavia Paul Rebecca Simon Tali Victor Winifred
2018–19 names
2018–19 Ali Bronagh Callum Deirdre Erik Freya Gareth Hannah Idris Jane Kevin
Lily Max Niamh Oliver Peggy Ross Saoirse Tristan Violet Wyn


  • Strongest named storm (by pressure): Storm Frank 2015–16 – 928mb
  • Earliest named storm: Storm Aileen 2017–18, 12 September 2017
  • Latest named storm: Storm Hector 2017–18, 14 June 2018 and Storm Miguel 2018–19, 5–12 June 2019
  • Most named storms in a single season: 23 (21 official) (2 unofficial) (2018–19)
  • Least named storms in a single season: 5 (2016–17)
  • Deadliest named storm: Ex-hurricane Ophelia (2017–18), 54 fatalities

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ahlstrom, Dick (15 January 2015). "Storm-naming system yet to be put in place as Rachel peters out". Irish Times. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Met Éireann plans to start naming storms from next year". The Journal. 21 December 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  3. ^ "The power of a name". Met Office. 3 August 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Abigail, First British Storm Ever Named, Slams Scotland, Ireland". NBC News. 12 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Met Éireann and the UK Met Office release list of winter storm names". Met Éireann. 20 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Met Éireann and the UK Met Office release list of winter storm names". Met Éireann. 10–13 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  7. ^ Éireann, Met (14 October 2016). "Met Éireann - The Irish Weather Service". Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Met Éireann Weather Warning System Explained". Met Éireann. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  9. ^ When would we name a storm? (Video). The Met Office. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  10. ^ "8 September 2015 – Help the Met Office and Met Éireann name our storms this winter". Met Office
  11. ^ "A-Z of UK storm names 2016/17". 7 February 2017.
  12. ^ "UK Storm Centre". Met Office. Met Office.
  13. ^ "A-Z of UK storm names 2016/17". 7 February 2017.
  14. ^ "A-Z of UK storm names 2016/17". 6 September 2017.

External links[edit]