Storm Alex, so why not Storm Aiden?

Many media outlets have been reporting that ‘Storm Aiden’ will batter Britain with strong winds and heavy rain this weekend. 

Over the last few days, weather forecasting computers – known as Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models – have been predicting a deep area of low pressure to develop close to the UK this weekend, bringing the potential for severe weather. Chief Meteorologists at the Met Office are closely monitoring developments.

Why do we name storms?

Since 2015 the Met Office, along with Met Éireann and KNMI, the national weather services in Ireland and the Netherlands, have been naming storms based on weather warnings in order to raise awareness of the potential impacts of severe weather.

Why do we name storms?

Latest NWP model output has moved the initial position of this weekend’s low-pressure system further south across France early on Friday. With very strong winds forecast, countries in the south-west Europe naming group – France, Spain, Portugal and Belgium – have named ‘Storm Alex’, which is the first name on their list for 2020-2021. The impacts further north were not considered strong enough for the Western European storm-naming group to name the system as ‘Storm Aiden’.

Later on Friday and over the weekend this system will move closer to the UK, bringing heavy rain and strong winds to many areas.

European Storm naming groups

When a storm is named by another weather service in Europe (see European storm naming groups image above) it is agreed that the same name will be used by all weather services in order to retain a consistent message.  Similarly, if a weather system impacting the UK were the remnants of a Hurricane that has moved across the Atlantic, we will use the same name, for example ex-Hurricane Ophelia in 2017.

This weekend, it will be wet and windy for many of us.  Keep an eye on the latest Met Office weather forecast and severe weather warnings where you are using our forecast pages and by following us on Twitter and Facebook, as well as using our mobile app.

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