A Storm by Any Other Name

Posted: November 16, 2015 in Current Affairs, Weather

#StormAbigail #StormBarney #NorthernPowerhouse #MetOffice

Stormy Weather

The weather is too bad to continue waterproofing the shed roof so I’ve kept myself busy penning a few words regarding the new process of naming storms in the UK in much the same fashion that America names its hurricanes.

This has been done, in part, as a last gasp attempt to bolster Britain’s standing in the world and to ensure a place of importance at the international table. David Cameron, during his visit to the G20 this week, will now be able to discuss the British weather with the same sense of faux pride as the rest of us as we queue, brolly in hand, at the local food bank here in the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.

Our first – Storm Abigail – came replete this week with flood warnings for low-lying areas. It had to be Abigail, didn’t it, a big gale, as it were. I was surprised at the amount of people who didn’t get it? Still, I did, and that’s what matters. I chuckled, a little, anyway.

Gender Storm

Following the convention established by the US, the storms gender is to alternate between male and female, and in alphabetical order – the next one being Storm Barney. This both a sycophantic nod to American exceptionalism and a typically vainglorious British attempt at inclusivity. Undoubtedly some career meteorologist will shortly be forced to resign in shame after it is pointed out to him or her that we now live in a multi-gendered society with 3rd, 4th, 5th, and trans-gendered folk in abundance. I would like to take the opportunity to apologise to any genders I may have missed in the above sentence.

The list of acceptable names was created after the UK Met Office asked for suggestions via social media. I immediately emailed as many names with a religious theme as I could muster: Storm Jesus, Storm Mohammed, Storm Budda, Storm Moses etc. along with a suggestion that we also name other aspects of the infamous British weather: Light Shower Nigel; Wet Weekend Colin; Foggy Morning Mary and such like.


I also suggested that we could monetise impending storms by allowing sponsors to bid on allowing their brand name (and an appropriately short slogan) to be associated with the approaching weather-front: Storm Volkswagen – It’ll all soon blow over, was the first witticism that sprung to mind. Gale Tetley – Just a Storm in a Teacup, the second. They got progressively worse after that, deteriorating quicker than the British weather following the aspirational phrase, ‘At least it’s not raining’.

I’m sure many people who bothered to contribute names have been thanked by the British Met Office. Possibly a brief but polite email? They must have been inundated as I’ve yet to receive mine?

Tomorrow, perhaps?

Damp Squib

Thankfully Abigail has now departed, swinging back into the north Atlantic after ploughing a trail of death and destruction across our small islands. Well, maybe not death and destruction, but certainly wetness. Yes, Abigail, our first storm with a name, turned out to be less Katrina, more teacup. Yet she touched us all with her moistness. As we speak, though Storm Barney rolls in on her damp coat-tails to further postpone the shed-roof repair, we shall remember her, the first of many – a true pioneer.

Hardly a baptism of fire, but a baptism of sorts, nevertheless.

For the moment, we are safe, we are dry, and Britain is great once more.

Anvil Springstien.

"Dear Mr Springstien...

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