How and who chooses the name of the storms

the name of the storms

When we watch the weather forecast on television we see how when a storm comes they are given a person's name. Many people question how and who chooses the name of the storms and what reasons are there for it.

Therefore, in this article we are going to tell you how and who chooses the name of the storms, their characteristics and types of storms that exist.

What is a storm

storms and their names

A storm is a meteorological phenomenon characterized by strong winds and heavy rainfall. The word "squall" may have its roots in the Greek word "boreas," which translates as "northern wind." This term evolved into “borealis” in Latin and eventually became “boras.”

In the middle and high latitudes of the planet, a vast low-pressure system known as an extratropical cyclone forms in the atmosphere. Spain is often affected by these weather systems, especially during the winter season.

Storm and anticyclone have opposite meanings. Both describe regions of the atmosphere with a surface atmospheric pressure that deviates greatly from the standard atmosphere (1 atm or 1013 mb). Storm refers to a low pressure system, while anticyclone belongs to a high pressure zone.

The meteorological conditions that accompany the existence of these two centers of activity are notably different. Storms are characterized by instability, which It causes rain, strong winds and turbulent waves. In contrast, anticyclones cause stable weather conditions, often accompanied by clear skies or fog, and light winds without precipitation.

What causes a storm to form?

name of the storms

An “extratropical storm” is the predominant type of storm in our latitudes. These storms typically arise when air masses with contrasting characteristics collide along the polar front. If there is a preceding mechanism that triggers instability, A storm will materialize at surface level, with fronts that delimit the different air masses.

During periods of intense sunlight, the surface of the interior of the Iberian Peninsula heats up, giving rise to a different type of storm known as a thermal storm or thermal low.

The formation of each storm occurs as a result of a decrease in atmospheric pressure at the Earth's surface. This decrease in pressure is usually a response to the creation of a "vacuum" caused by the upward movement of air from the surface to higher altitudes in the atmosphere.

Storm formation occurs through the process of cyclogenesis, which can give rise to various types of storms depending on the location and underlying mechanisms. However, all storms have one thing in common: they involve the upward movement of air, creating a "vacuum" on the surface and subsequently decreasing atmospheric pressure.

The main attributes that define a storm

The predominant low pressure systems that affect Spanish territory typically manifest themselves as storms along the polar front. These storms exhibit a specific structure, with organized bands of clouds that form distinct fronts and sectors of air with different attributes. Inside a developing storm, It is possible to discern both a warm front and a cold front.

A cold, dry air mass lies ahead of a warm front, which in turn separates it from a warmer, moister air mass behind it. These fronts usually move slowly and cause continuous light to moderate precipitation, accompanied by an increase in temperatures once they have passed.

Typically, the cold front is longer and thinner compared to the warm front. Its purpose is to divide the warm, humid air mass located in front of the colder, drier air mass located behind. The cold front usually produces stormy weather, characterized by heavy but brief rain showers. In addition, it brings strong winds. After the passage of the cold front, Temperatures drop drastically and sporadic rains occur.

Once the storm has reached full maturity, the colder air overwhelms the warmer air, resulting in the formation of an occluded front. This distinctive weather pattern occurs when two cold air masses, one more dominant than the other, separate as the warm air mass is forced to rise. As a consequence, this often leads to unstable weather conditions, marked by intermittent and long-lasting rain of varying degrees of intensity.

How and who chooses the name of the storms

cyclone formation

For the 2023/24 storm season, the Met Office, Irish Met Éirean and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) jointly announced their designated names in September. In recognition of meteorological experts across the UK, a selection of names have been chosen this year to pay tribute to their contributions.

To comply with international conventions, Storms are given names in alphabetical order, excluding the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z. The name list is released at the beginning of each season and typically alternates between male and female options.

Unlike usual, this year there has been a break in the pattern to make room for some notable additions. At the beginning of the alphabetical list, the first two names that appear are Agnes and Babet.

Storm Ciarán has been officially designated as the third storm of this particular season. The selection was based on its popularity with the public, who were also given the opportunity to suggest names, but most importantly it was chosen as a tribute to Ciarán Fearon, an esteemed employee of the Northern Ireland Department of Infrastructure.

During times of severe weather and storms, it is crucial to recognize and appreciate each weather event, as this effort plays a vital role in ensuring our preparedness and minimizing the impact of such events.

What name will be assigned to the next storms?

Debi Garft, who worked as a policy officer in the Scottish Government's flood team before retiring, landed fourth on the list. Additionally, Regina Simmons, Alert and Information team leader at Natural Resources Wales, is also among the names listed.

Famous scientists serve as inspiration for the names on the list, to which the Irish meteorological service Met Éireann also contributes. A notable addition is Jocelyn, named after renowned physicist Dame Jocelyn Bell.

Adding to the growing list, the KNMI frequently includes names of Dutch origin submitted by visitors throughout the year.

Storms are given names by a group of organizations when they are expected to have a significant impact on the UK, Ireland or the Netherlands. While wind is usually the main factor, the presence of snow or rain can also play a role in determining whether a storm is named or not.

According to Will Lang, who oversees situational awareness at the Met Office, the practice of naming storms has been in place for nine years and remains effective in coordinating responses during periods of severe weather.

The practice of naming storms is intended to improve communication of severe weather conditions and ensure clarity for people who could potentially be affected by such weather events.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the name of the storms and who names them.


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