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Everything you need to know about storm names for the next year

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The Met Office has released its list of storm names for 2020-21 and the next storm to hit West Norfolk will most probably be called Aiden.

Many will remember Ciara and Dennis sweeping over the county earlier this year, but how, when and why is a storm named?

The public have been asked to send in suggestions since the 'Name Our Storms' scheme was launched by the Met Office and the Republic of Ireland's weather service, Met Éireann, in 2015.

Picture taken of Storm Dennis by reader Alistair Milner (41724307)
Picture taken of Storm Dennis by reader Alistair Milner (41724307)

From thousands of suggestions, the offices select a range of names which reflect the diversity of not only Britain and Ireland but the Netherlands too, which shares so much of our North Sea weather.

The list runs alphabetically, alternating between male and female names. But those beginning with Q, U, X, Y and Z are not included in the list so our system keeps in line with US National Hurricane Centre conventions.

Storms which hit the UK this year will most likely be called Aiden, Bella, Christoph, Darcy, Evert and Fleur.

Storm Dennis: high seas at Folkestone. Picture: Alan Leigh (41724295)
Storm Dennis: high seas at Folkestone. Picture: Alan Leigh (41724295)

The other names listed are Gavin, Heulwen, Iain, Julia, Klaas, Lilah , Minne, Naia, Oscar, Phoebe, Ravi, Saidhbhín, Tobias, Veronica and Wilson.

The Met Office will be updating their webpage throughout the year as storms are named.

Storms are named when they have the potential to cause an amber or red warning. This is based on the judgment of the National Severe Weather Warnings service which weighs up the impact weather may have alongside the likelihood of those impacts occurring.

Each time a storm forms, it is given the next name on the alphabetically running list. This way we know Storm Dennis was the fourth storm to arrive in the UK last year.

Ultimately, the naming is for safety. Using a single name for severe weather makes it easier for the media to communicate and raise awareness. This makes it easier for people and businesses to prepare for when a storm hits.

The naming of storms is a practice which can be traced back hundreds of years to the 16th century, when tropical cyclones in the Caribbean were named after saints.

The list of names is announced every year in September and runs on until the following August. This is because as autumn begins, low pressure systems become more likely and the likelihood of named storms increases.

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