The cat who caused a storm: pets and friends used in new weather names

Forecasters seek to raise awareness about potential impact of severe weather events

Brighton bore the brunt of Storm Evert in July this year. Alamy
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A Lord of the Rings character, a pet cat and a “quick-as-lightning” goalkeeper will now be forever associated with bad weather in the UK.

The naming of storms – which is now in its seventh year in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands – aims to raise awareness of the potential impact of severe weather events and help people to stay safe and protect themselves and their property before the storm arrives.

More than 10,000 suggestions were submitted to the Met Office for the list of names for the strongest weather events to hit the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands over the coming year.

Bodyboarders brave the waves in rough seas in Newquay during Storm Evert earlier this year. Getty Images

The first storm of the year, which runs from September 2021 to the end of August 2022, will be called Arwen, a name thought to be of Welsh origin and popularised by JRR Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings books.

Kim, Logan, Ruby and Dudley are among the names put forward by the UK public and selected by the Met Office, along with Met Eireann and Dutch national weather forecasting service – the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI).

A Met Office spokesman said Kim was nominated in recognition of a “whirlwind” relative and a self-confessed weather watcher, while Logan, a name of Scottish origin, was nominated by several parents and grandparents, including a mention of a grandson who “runs through the house like a tornado” and another who is “as quick as lightning” when playing as a goalkeeper.

Ruby made the final cut after being nominated by a pet owner whose cat “comes in and acts like a storm” and a parent whose daughter “leaves a trail of destruction” when she enters the house.

Dudley fought off competition from seven other names beginning with D to top a poll on Twitter after being submitted by a couple who will share the last name of Dudley when they get married in 2022.

Other names on the list – which does not use names beginning with Q, U, X, Y or Z – include Barra, Corrie, Eunice, Franklin, Gladys, Herman, Imani, Jack, Meabh, Nasim, Olwen, Pol, Sean, Tineke, Vergil and Willemien.

Storms will be named when they are deemed to cause medium or high impacts from strong winds, rain or snow.

An aerial view taken with a drone shows a damaged railway bridge after the flooding of the Ahr River, in Germany. EPA

During the 2020-21 storm season, the UK has been hit by five Met Office-named storms, with the latest – Storm Evert – sweeping across southern areas of England and Wales at the end of July, bringing gusty winds and some persistent rain, after the UK’s joint fifth warmest July on record.

In Europe, heavy rainfall in July led to severe flooding in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The floods caused at least 184 deaths in Germany and 38 in Belgium and damaged homes, roads, railway lines and businesses.

Will Lang, head of the National Severe Weather Warning Service at the Met Office, said the naming of storms led to greater public awareness. “We’re all aware of some of the severe weather that has been witnessed across Europe and globally in recent months and we work to use any tool at our disposal to ensure the public is informed of potential risks, and naming storms is just one way we do that.”

KNMI Director General Gerard van der Steenhoven said storms were not confined to national borders. "It makes a lot of sense to give common names to such extreme weather events," he said.

"We gladly continue our collaboration with the UK Met Office and Met Éireann on storm forecasting. It is a great privilege and advantage to work in close cooperation with our colleagues from Ireland and the UK in the communication about storms. All people exposed to such impending extreme weather events will benefit.”

The complete list of the names selected by the weather agencies of the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands are: Arwen, Barra, Corrie, Dudley, Eunice, Franklin, Gladys, Herman, Imani, Jack, Kim, Logan, Méabh, Nasim, Olwen, Pól, Ruby, Sean, Tineke, Vergil and Willemien.

Updated: September 01, 2021, 10:47 AM