Wednesday 28 September 2016

Brace yourselves for Storm Wilbert or Storm Doris: Public names our storms

Daire Courtney

Published 19/09/2016 | 17:39

The aim of the project is to raise awareness of severe weather
The aim of the project is to raise awareness of severe weather

The ‘Name our Storms’ project, a joint effort between the UK Met Office and Met Éireann, has released the names chosen for 2016/2017.

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The project aims to increase public safety by raising awareness of the danger of upcoming storms. A spokesperson from the Met Office said the project’s first year was “very successful”.

“A YouGov survey found that 55pc of people surveyed changed their behaviour and took precautionary steps after hearing that a storm was named. We also saw a lot of interaction on social media with hashtags of the names trending. Public awareness was definitely a lot higher.”

The full list of the names is: Angus, Barbara, Conor, Doris, Ewan, Fleur, Gabriel, Holly, Ivor, Jacqui, Kamil, Louise, Malcolm, Natalie, Oisin, Penelope, Robert, Susan, Thomas, Valerie and Wilbert.

The list includes a phonetic spelling of 'Oisin' to aid those not familiar with Irish names; the same help was there for 'Clodagh' last year.

These names were chosen from a list of over 10,000 names submitted by the public last year. The letters Q,U, X, Y and Z will not be so that naming practices will match the US system.

The National Geographic reported in 2014 that hurricanes with female names on average kill more people than those with male names, even if Katrina is excluded as an outlier. Kiju Jung from the University of Illinois argued that stereotypes about male aggression and female passivity lead people to take feminine hurricanes less seriously.

Other researchers have said that the gender aspect is a coincidence because there have not been enough storms to do a proper sample. Speaking to independent.ie, a spokesperson for the UK Met Office said this research would not change their naming system and that their advice to people was the same regardless: be aware and take precautions.

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