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Kim, Pól and Seán: Names of future winter storms announced

The Storm Names partnership raises awareness of the impact of severe weather.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

MET ÉIREANN HAS released the list of winter storm names for 2021/2022.

Met Éireann and the UK’s Met Office have worked together on the Storm Names partnership since 2014 to help raise awareness of the impacts of severe weather.

It is the third year that the pair has been joined by Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI).

The three weather services compile the list of names based off public suggestions.

Each national meteorological service puts forward names that are indicative of their country and culture.

A storm is named by a forecaster when orange- or red-level winds are expected to impact over a wide land area. However, orange- or red-level gusts can occur in exposed areas without the event being named.

Irish names included on this year’s list are Barra, Méabh, Pól and Seán.

Storms beginning with the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are not used in order to comply with international storm naming conventions, while controversial names – such as those of public figures – are not included either.

Once a storm is named by any National Met Service globally, that name is retained if the storm moves into Irish waters. For example, Ophelia in October 2017 and Lorenzo in September 2019 were named by the National Hurricane Center in the US and Emma in May 2018 by the IPMA in Portugal.

This year, the first storm will be female and named Arwen, while the second storm will be male and named Barra, following the alternating male-female pattern established by the US National Hurricane Center in the 1970s.

Here’s the full list of this year’s names:

stornnames Source: Met Éireann

Met Éireann’s head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack noted the relatively calm winter last year featured just one storm.

Last winter was relatively quiet with only one storm named by Met Éireann – Storm Aiden at Halloween. We are now preparing for the autumn and winter months ahead with a new list of storm names for 2021-22 and for whatever weather may come to our shores.

“Once again Met Éireann will continue to work with our national weather service colleagues in the UK and Netherlands, by continuing to provide a clear and consistent message to the public and encouraging people to take action to prevent harm to themselves or to their properties at times of severe weather,” she added.

Will Lang, head of the National Severe Weather Warning Service at the Met Office, emphasised the importance of raising awareness of storms as he noted the recent devastating weather across both Europe and the world over the summer.

“We’re all aware of some of the severe weather that has been witnessed across Europe and globally in recent months and we work to use any tool at our disposal to ensure the public is informed of potential risks, and naming storms is just one way we do that.”

Last October, Storm Aiden swept across Ireland leaving thousands of homes and businesses without power as gusts of up to 130km/h were recorded in parts of the country. High seas led to coastal flooding in some areas.

The UN’s IPCC has said that global warming has caused an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. 

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The world has already warmed by about 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times due to human activity, and the UN IPCC has warned that this is likely to pass 1.5C between 2030 and 2052 if the increase continues at the current rate.

It is not only temperature that has changed: there have also been changes in rainfall, declines in snow and ice, and increases in sea-level as the oceans heat up.

Listen to The Explainer podcast on The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

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