Since the winter of 2015/2016, Met Eireann and The UK equivalent – The Met Office – have named storms. They release the names in advance – they go in alphabetical order and alternate between a male and a female name. The list skips the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z, so each year the weather forecasters are ready with 21 names in case we have 21 storms.
Last night we had Storm Hannah, and the next storm, whenever it hits will be called Storm Idris. But if your name begins with a letter later in the alphabet, like Saoirse or Tristan this year, it will take a particularly violent winter of storms to bring a storm named after you.
The objective of this initiative is to raise awareness of impending severe weather. And it has worked. But it has also brought complaints of false warnings – that weather warnings have been issued when no severe weather has actually arrived.
Weather forecasting is not an exact science. It tries to predict the future – which is difficult, but it is getting more exact.
But you either heed their warnings and accept there will be some mistakes, or you essentially trust that your judgement is better than that of the professionals who have the education, equipment and experience. It won’t always end well.
And while we’re on the subject – here’s a fun song about strong winds to get you in the mood for next week’s theme night…