WITH Storm Dennis quickly following Storm Ciara, it definitely feels a lot more like winter this week. 

After a mild start to the year, we have been battered by heavy rain and severe gales.

But who comes up with the names for storms and what's next?

Why do the Met Office name storms?

The Met Office first decided to give storms a name in 2014 with the first one named Abigail in November 2015.

The hope was that naming severe storms would make people more aware of them and how dangerous they can be.

And it makes it easier to follow the progress of a storm on the TV, radio, or on social media, if it has a name.

Can I suggest a storm name?

Every summer the Met Office and Met Éireann ask people to send in their ideas for future storm names.

Look out for their #NameOurStorms campaign on social media around July this year for the chance for your name to be included.

A new list of names will be compiled jointly between Met Éireann, the Met Office and KNMI (The Dutch national weather forecasting service) in September for the following 2020/2021 storm season.

What are the storm names for this year?

We've already had:

  • Storm Atiyah (arrived December 8 to 9)
  • Brendan (January 13 to 14)
  • Ciara (February 8 to 9) so far this year.

Dennis is set to arrive this weekend and then we've got:

  • Ellen
  • Francis
  • Gerda 

Kidderminster Shuttle:  

  • Hugh  
  • Iris  
  • Jan  
  • Kitty  
  • Liam  
  • Maura  
  • Noah  
  • Olivia  
  • Piet  
  • Róisín
  • Samir  
  • Tara  
  • Vince  
  • Willow

Names alternate between male and female and run from A-Z based on some of the more popular names suggested to the Met Office as well as 'reflecting the diversity of Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands'.

To ensure the Met Office is in line with the US National Hurricane Centre naming conventions, names which begin with the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are not included.

Are there any names the Met Office has ruled out?

Among the names suggested to the Met Office, officials have rejected anything that isn't a 'proper name'.

That includes:

Apocalypse, Baldrick, Big Boss, Gnasher, Hot Brew, root ripper, Stormageddon, Ssswetcaroline, Vader, Voldermort and branch wobbler.

Other rejected names included Hammer, Hades, Forkbeard, Megatron and In A Teacup.