We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

ah it's yourself

Met Éireann plans to start naming storms from next year

Remember ‘Darwin’ and ‘Christine’? Forecasters here didn’t use those storm names… But we could be saying hello to ‘Sean’, ‘Finbar’ or ‘Aisling’ within the next few months.

FORECASTERS IN IRELAND and the UK are working on a scheme to start naming North Atlantic storms — and the new regime could be in place within a few months.

Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann Gerald Fleming told talks with the UK Met Office were at an advanced stage.

Neither weather service gives names to low pressure systems currently.

On the continent, an unofficial naming regime is run by the Free University in Berlin.

On other occasions, media outlets simply name storms after the nearest saint’s day or anniversary (hence, last February’s monster ‘Darwin’ system — so-called because it fell on the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth).

“We’re currently in discussions with our neighbours in Britain — because we share the same storms by and large with the UK, and we share the same language, and in sense we share the same media very often,” Fleming explained.

“If we have a name on the storm people know what we’re talking about — we don’t just have to say ‘that storm that passed us by on the 14th of January last’ or something like that.

It will give it some personality and it will allow people to relate to it more easily, because — particularly in a winter like last winter when we had so many storms — it will make it a little more easy to distinguish between them.

Video / YouTube

Ready for the worst

In terms of the country’s preparedness for whatever nasty weather might befall us in January and February — we are, according to Fleming “an awful lot more ready than we used to be”.

As part of his job, Fleming sits on the Government’s Emergency Planning Committee — the wide-ranging panel that also includes officials from the Defence Forces, the Gardaí, the Coast Guard, the OPW, and a multitude of other departments and agencies.

He was heading off to one of their meetings after his sit-down chat at our newsroom last Thursday, in fact (nothing to worry about, he said — just a regular check-in to make sure all their plans are up-to-date).

The country’s forecasting chief gave us a run-through of how that body works, how they interact with the Cabinet and the Taoiseach during severe weather episodes … and what they do if local authorities decide to ‘press the emergency button’.

Video / YouTube

‘A very good night to you’


It’s years since Fleming last appeared on our TV screens to give a forecast — but we couldn’t let the poor man depart our offices without asking him to do this….

For those of you who chose to read this article purely in the interests of meteorological research click away now…

This is the fluffy, final bit of our interview when we asked ‘what’s it like to be a science-y Martin King’ and other similarly hard-hitting questions.

Video / YouTube

Video: Michelle Hennessy

First published 8.30am

Read: How did poor old Charles Darwin get dragged into the nation’s storm coverage?

Also: Highest wave ever recorded off Kinsale coast


Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.