Why do storms have names?


Storms are a kind of bad weather, usually made up of strong winds and rain or hail. They can cause lots of damage by blowing bits off buildings and trees, causing water to overflow from rivers and streams, or making huge sea-waves that crash onto the land.

Storms happen every year and are a normal part of the weather here on Earth. But some storms are stronger than others; the stronger the storm, the more damage it could cause. So, scientists have come up with a way to keep track of them – let’s find out how they do it…

Scientists who study the weather are called ‘meteorologists’. The name comes from a Greek word (meteoron) that means ‘of the atmosphere’. They collect information about what is going on in the atmosphere around the Earth and use it to make predictions about what the weather will be like in the future. This is called a ‘weather forecast’.

There are several different types of weather: sunshine, cloud, fog, rain, hail, sleet, snow, ice, thunder, lightning. And we can describe the outside temperature as being hot, cold, warm or freezing.

Storms usually develop out at sea when warm air and water from the sea rise upwards into the atmosphere and cold air rushes in underneath. This makes a patch of strong wind and rain that gets blown towards land.

Meteorologists keep track of where and when storms develop and the direction in which they travel. So that they don’t get confused if more than one storm develops at once, they give each storm its own name. In September 2017, there was a storm called Aileen and in January 2018 there was another, called Storm Eleanor.

Each year, meteorologists agree a list of names that they will use in alphabetical order to name storms. They alternate between boy and girl names but don’t use any starting with Q, U, X, Y or Z.

If you want to find out more about how storms get their names, check out this story on CBBC Newsround or this article about the Met Office system.


One thought on “Why do storms have names?

  1. Varuna January 18, 2018 / 6:49 am

    This is good info! I’m 25 and never knew how storms are named, I’m embarrassed 😀


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