Storms Isha and Jocelyn: how the UK names bad weather and why it matters
In the first three weeks of 2024, the British have already heard two new storm names, Isha and Jocelyn, which brought strong winds, rain, and snow to the country. In the UK, weather names are used to facilitate communication between meteorologists, security services, and the public.
Names help people to understand the news of an impending storm and be prepared for it. According to the BBC, the Met Office explained: "We've seen how naming storms in other parts of the world raises awareness of severe weather before it hits."
This experience was adopted by the Americans, who began naming cyclones in the 1950s.
For the most part, meteorologists use names from a short list that the public suggested years ago.
In the past, storms have alternated between random male and female names, and in 2024, the Met Office broke from tradition by naming several storms after prominent scientists, meteorologists, and anyone "working to keep people safe during severe weather."
Storms in the UK are named when they have the potential to cause serious damage. It can be a random name from a list or one dedicated to meteorologists, weather forecasters, scientists, etc.
However, according to the publication, there are no names on the list that refer to the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z.
There are northern, southwestern, and western European groups that name storms. For example, Portugal, Spain, Luxembourg, France, and Belgium come up with their own names, the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands offer their own variants, and Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are based on their own taste.