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From Saidhbhín to Heulwen - Met Éireann unveils new storm names

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Ken Pearson from Balgriffin battles the wind as he walks on Howth Pier with his children, Holly (10), Callum (7), Ella (3) and their dog Mylo, in the wake of Storm Ellen.

Ken Pearson from Balgriffin battles the wind as he walks on Howth Pier with his children, Holly (10), Callum (7), Ella (3) and their dog Mylo, in the wake of Storm Ellen.

Colin Keegan

Ken Pearson from Balgriffin battles the wind as he walks on Howth Pier with his children, Holly (10), Callum (7), Ella (3) and their dog Mylo, in the wake of Storm Ellen.

Storms Saidhbhín, Bella and Fleur could be blowing across Ireland over the next year after being included on Met Eireann's 2020/2021 list of storm names.

It marks the fifth year since Met Éireann and the UK Met Office formed the West group and named storms, with the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) joining in 2019.

Last year, the name 'Maura', believed to be named after fiery Love Island star Maura Higgins, made headlines - but this year, some of the names include pronunciation aids.

The 2020/21 list includes the following names: Aiden, Bella, Christoph, Darcy, Evert (pronounced Eh-vert), Fleur, Gavin, Heulwen (pronounced Hail-wen), Iain, Julia, Klaas (pronounced Klaa-s), Lilah (pronounced Ly-la), Minnie (pronounced Minn-eh), Naia (pronounced N-eye-a), Oscar, Phoebe, Ravi, Saidhbhín, Tobias, Veronica and Wilson.

The storm naming campaign aims to help with raising the public's awareness of severe weather.

"The naming of storms by National Met Services provides a clear, authoritative and consistent message to the public and prompts people to take action to prevent harm to themselves or to their property," said Evelyn Cusack, the Head of Forecasting and Chair of the European Met Services' Storm Naming Working Group.

She said that names which are easily pronounced but less recognised are picked.

"The storm names also add an extra interest for people with particular excitement in a family when one of their names appears in the list. We mostly pick names that can be easily pronounced but some are less generally recognised," said Ms Cusack.

Punishing

"Perhaps, hopefully, we won't get as far as Heulwen, a striking Welsh girl's name, but for the non-Welsh among us we have included an aid to pronounce it just in case (Hail -wen).

"But although I would love in theory to be able to use the Irish name Saidhbhín if we get that far down the list it will have been a really punishing season."

The names are in alphabetical order, alternate between genders and following the National Hurricane Center conventions, names beginning with Q, U, X, Y and Z are not used.

For international storms, once they are named by any National Met Service globally, that name is retained if the storm moves into Irish waters.

A storm is named by a National Met Service when Orange or Red level winds are forecast to impact over a widespread area.

"Although it's too early to anticipate what weather this autumn and winter will bring, we are prepared with a new list of names to help raise awareness of severe weather before it hits," said Will Lang, Head of the National Severe Weather Warning Service at the UK Met Office.