Thursday, 29 October 2015

What's in a name?

'What's in a name?' asked Mr Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet.  You might well ask William - names are very significant, and become an intrinsic part of our identities. 

When I heard that the Met Office wanted to name storms for the UK and Ireland, I must admit I did wonder why.

I know the Americans name their hurricanes, and I did muse why we also wanted to import this idea from across the Atlantic, along with Thanksgiving, 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday'.

However, I discovered that they're not trying to make them sound friendly and cute, the idea is by naming them it is hoped to raise awareness of predicted severe weather, and therefore encourage people to adequately protect themselves. 

Our storms will only be named when they could potentially cause 'substantial' impact, so we hopefully won't have a huge list of names forever being mentioned in the forecasts.

The Met Office opened up the choosing of names to the Great British public via social media.  The results are perhaps surprising - I was expecting to see at least some celebs or sports stars in there.

But no, we have a choice of names, alternating between male and female as is apparently the custom, which seem to embrace monikers from all areas of the British Isles.

If you haven't seen it already, here's the definitive list - Abigail; Barney; Clodagh; Desmond; Eva; Frank; Gertrude; Henry; Imogen; Jake; Katie; Lawrence; Mary; Nigel; Orla; Phil; Rhonda; Steve; Tegan; Vernon; Wendy.

To be honest, I would find it hard to be scared of Storm Steve, Nigel or Phil as they sound like mates you'd have a drink and share a packet of crisps with in the pub.

However, Storms Clodagh and Gertrude sound like they could be very fearsome - I'm certainly not going to mess with them.

And I can almost picture the weather presenter saying the words 'Britain, batten down the hatches and brace yourselves for Barney!'- although I might momentarily have a big purple dinosaur flashback...

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