Why do storms need names?

  • 20 October 2015
Lightning storm Image copyright Stuart Edwards
Image caption Does this storm look like a Steve? Or more of a Nigel?

Abigail, Eva, Frank and Gertrude are some of the 21 names that have been chosen to be given to storms in the UK and Ireland in the future.

The Met Office, which keeps track of the weather here, has decided to give storms boys and girls names in the same way as they do in America.

They asked the public to suggest names for big storms and picked a list that also includes Imogen, Jake, Katie and Mary.

But why do they need names and how are they decided? Here's Newsround's guide.

Why do they need names?

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Met Office hopes that giving storms names will mean it is easier to keep track of them on social media and give people more time to get to safety.

The Met Office hopes that naming big storms will mean people are more aware of them and how dangerous they can be.

They think that it will be easier to follow the progress of a storm on the TV, radio, or on social media, if it has a name.

Derrick Ryall, from the Met Office, said: "We have seen how naming storms elsewhere in the world raises awareness of severe weather before it strikes."

How big do the storms have to be?

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Not all storms will be big enough to get names - only those expected to cause significant damage.

Who decides if they're named after girls or boys?

Image copyright NASA

The UK storms will take it in turns to be girls' or boys' names.

In America and other parts of the world, big storms and hurricanes already have names. Strangely, research shows that hurricanes with female names are more likely to hurt more people than those with males names.

Scientists think that's because people find female names less threatening.

Which storm name will be picked first?

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They will be taken from the list in alphabetical order.

There is a name for each letter of the alphabet, excluding Q, U, X, Y and Z. That's the same naming convention used in America.

The full list of names chosen for future selection are: Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude, Henry, Imogen, Jake, Katie, Lawrence, Mary, Nigel, Orla, Phil, Rhonda, Steve, Tegan, Vernon and Wendy.

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