Met Office lowers threshold for named storms to increase their number

Courtesy of UKMO

Remember you read it here first

If you remember on Saturday I posted that Tuesday’s low might end up being named storm Francis, and for once, because I’ve often attempted this, I was correct. But I would never have guessed that it would the UKMO who did the naming. It looks to me that the wind threshold for storms has been lowered a notch. I’ve covered enough of these ridiculous named storm events in the past to know that gusts of 60 to 70 mph always merited a yellow warning and not named. You needed gusts of 70 mph or higher and an amber warning to automatically make it a named storm.

Named storms are good for business

It may be that the UKMO were getting fed up with the Irish, and even the French and Spanish jumping in before them to name a storm Jorge or Norberto. I think that the Met Office know how good named storms are for business. The public seem to love them, and newspapers such as the Daily Mail and Daily Express simply wouldn’t generate enough revenue to keep going without news about the next storm to hit, blast or smash into the UK. So the simple answer was for them to just lower the wind threshold for named storms. I noticed to beef up the credentials of storm Francis, they also say that between 60 and 90 mm of rain could fall in Northern Ireland and SW Scotland. Last week over the hills of western Scotland a similar amount of rain fell and it never even attracted a yellow warning.

More storms from now on

It strikes me with this lower threshold the number of named storms in the coming season will jump up, because extratropical lows like storm Francis are commonplace in winter across IONA. If I’m right, and the thresholds for named storms has been lowered – and let’s face it no one as ever specifically stated what the thresholds were in the first place – I smell something distinctly fishy going on, and the smell seems to be floating up from the Climate Attribution Department.

Courtesy of

There certainly will be some strong winds around on Tuesday and some coastal gales, and high gusts from the usual candidates Aberdaron, Berry Head, the Needles not forgetting the Mumbles lighthouse, as storm Francis tracks across the centre of the country. But the big question is just how memorable will Frank be?

Courtesy of UKMO
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