There’s a good chance that, at some point today, you’ve had at least a brief conversation with someone about that bastard Storm Doris that is currently wreaking havoc on British shores.
We’ve had Barbara, we’ve had Conor and now it’s Doris – each storm seemingly more pissed off than the last.
But have you ever wondered how these furious ‘weather bombs’ come to acquire their (definitely ridiculous) names? After all, any human Doris you know is likely to be a pleasant old lady who can talk at length about a particularly fiendish crossword clue, so why are we naming 80mph gusts of wind after her?
Since 2015, The Met Office, alongside Ireland’s Met Éireann, have been running an initiative that began with them essentially crowdsourcing a big list of names from the public. 10,000 names were gathered from social media, 11 of which were assigned to their own storm.
The list began with Storm Abigail and ended with Katie, the thinking being that humanising them would make people more aware of them. If even one person has turned to the passenger next to them on the bus and muttered, “How about Doris then? The fuck is she playing at?” then surely it’s mission accomplished. The initial pilot was so popular that right now no new name suggestions are being accepted.
In a system that mirrors the one used for hurricanes, the names run alphabetically and alternate between male and female, reports WIRED. Next up for the UK is Ewan, who we frankly dislike already.
When a storm is seen to be approaching the UK it’s given a danger rating by meteorologists. Storms that fall between the medium and severe categories are given names.
The Met Office video below explains the naming scale in more detail, but essentially, they were all decided by the internet.
(Image credits: REX/Met Office (YouTube)