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From Abigail to Wendy: Britain's storms get names

The Met Office has announced its first list of names for storms. Credit: Met Office

The Met Office has announced its first list of names to be given to significant storms which are forecast to affect the British Isles.

It is part of a pilot project by the Met Office and the Irish weather service, Met Eireann. The list was compiled from those suggested by thousands of people on social media.

It is hoped that naming storms will help raise awareness of severe weather and ensure greater safety of the public.

Big Atlantic storms with the potential to affect the British Isles will now be named. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive

It has long been the convention that hurricanes, cyclone and typhoons are given names to help easily identify them in warnings and forecast.

Now non-tropical Atlantic storms with the potential to hit the United Kingdom will also be named.

The names follow the letters of the alphabet and alternate between female and male names.

A young girl and her mother watch the waves crash against sea defences at Southwold in Suffolk in 2007. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive

List of names for autumn/winter 2015/2016

The list of storm names for autumn/winter 2015/2016. Credit: Met Office/Met Eireann

A storm will be named when it is deemed to have the potential to cause substantial impacts in the UK and/or Ireland.

To stay in line with the US National Hurricane Centre naming convention, the Met Office is not going to include names which begin with the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z.

To avoid any confusion over naming, if a storm is the remnants of a tropical storm or hurricane that has moved across the Atlantic, the already established method of referring to it as, e.g. 'Ex-hurricane X' will continue.

Rescue workers make their way into Walcott, near Great Yarmouth in the 2007 storm surge. Credit: John Giles/PA Archive

Experts say naming a storm - such as the 2013 St Jude's storm - makes it easier for the public to follow its progress and share information on social media.

A shocking study last year found that storms with female names tend to be more deadly because people assume they will be less dangerous, and therefore take fewer precautions.

In reality, a hurricane or storm's name, and the gender of it, has no bearing on its ferocity.

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