The official storm names of the 2020/21 has been released by the UK Met Office, Met Éireann and the KNMI (the Dutch meteorological service). Released annually since 2015 the storm maiming system is designed to increase awareness of severe winter storms and their potential impacts across the aforementioned three countries.
Although enacted in Europe since 2015 the naming of storms has been in practice for centuries, with the first documented case of naming storms occurring when a hurricane hit Puerto Rico on October 4th 1526 as the Catholic feast day of St Francis of Assisi was being celebrated – so the storm was named San Francisco.
The question remains however as to whether or not our storm season will be above or below average?
One can argue whether the occurrence of Storm Ellen and Storm Francis were the first storms of the 2020/21 season or whether they were very late season storms, however if we assume that they were indeed early season storms does this perhaps serve as an omen for the year ahead?
Not necessarily. There are multiple factors that will influence whether or not we see an active storm season. Such variables include sea surface temperatures, jet stream location and strength, wind shear, large scale atmospheric weather patterns, multi-decadal oscillations, the strength of the US hurricane season and perhaps upper atmospheric dynamics such as the strength of the polar vortex and later in the season occurrence of sudden stratospheric warning events.
In short it remains very unclear as to whether or not we will have an active storm season, with a true
picture on the nature of our storm season not emerging until the late Autumn. In the meantime we will endure a more mixed spell of weather, with only tentative signs of an improvement as we go through the month of September.
Here’s hoping we avoid a long winter of discontent on the meteorological front.
With kindest regards,