Why does the Met Office name storms and how are they chosen?

Ellena Cruse
A man avoids the waves at Salthill promenade, Co Galway during Storm Callum: PA

Storm Dennis wrought havoc on the UK after winds of 90mph and heavy rainfall battered the country's shores over the weekend.

It was the second named storm to hit Britain in a week after Storm Ciara made the headlines with strong winds and rain which tore through vast swathes of the country .

Each storm is named by either the Met Office, the Irish meteoroidal service, Met Éireann, or the Netherland equivalent KNMI.

Such weather events are named so their cycles can be charted around the world.

The storms are named alphabetically meaning that the first storm of the season will begin with the letter ‘A’ and then the next one start with the letter ‘B’ and so on.

They also alternate between typically male and female names.

A man and children walk against the wind as Storm Ciara arrives (Getty Images)

Why are storms named?

Naming storms helps the Met Office provide better information about a weather event through the media and government partners.

This in turn helps the public have a better idea of what is in store, allowing them to prepare and plan.

Can I suggest a storm name?

Anyone can suggest a storm name and the Met Office receives thousands of ideas each year.

It then meets with Met Éireann and KNMI to jointly finalise the choices.

Workmen clear up after tree fell on speed camera in Tilehurst, Reading (PA)

The Met Office receives nominations through social media and email and the best way to contact them is by emailing pressoffice@metoffice.gov.uk

When are storms named?

A storm will be named when it has the potential to cause an amber or red weather warning.

However, other weather types will also be considered if the impact could lead to flooding.

People walk through flying sea foam spray in Porthcawl (Getty Images)

This will be based on information from the Environment Agency, SEPA and Natural Resources Wales.

Therefore storms are named based on the impacts of wind, rain and snow.

Why are there no storms for Q, U, X, Y and Z?

The Met Office will not consider names beginning with Q, U, X, Y and Z.

Rather than not liking the end of the alphabet, the Met Office avoids these letters to fit in with US National Hurricane Centre naming conventions.

By doing so it ensure that there will be consistency around the world when covering storms in the North Atlantic.

UK versus US storm names

To avoid confusion, if a storm seen in the UK is the remnants of a tropical storm or hurricane that has moved across the Atlantic, the Met Office will not give it a new name.

It will refer to it as the name it was given by the National Weather Service in the US and put “ex” in front of it.

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Storm Dennis flooding threat raised as four amber warnings issued