Storm Brian Is On The Way, So Why On Earth Was Ophelia Called 'Ophelia'?

Storm Brian Is On The Way, So Why On Earth Was Ophelia Called 'Ophelia'?

My father used to always say to me, "Son, there are two types of people in this world; those who know the intricacies of storm-naming procedure for meteorological offices, and those who don't". If you fall into the first category, then congratulations to you. If however you fall into the second category then you deserve even more congratulations as you are clearly a well-rounded person who clearly had better things to be doing than studying weather naming conventions.

So, to give you a brief low-down, any weather system deemed to be a 'storm' by Met Éireann, is assigned a name. Every year, in advance of the storm season, they issue an alphabetical list of the names that will be designated to any storms that do occur. So far we have had one storm, Aileen. The next storm name on the list is 'Brian' and Storm Brian is currently brewing in the Atlantic. At the moment he is described by Met Éireann as a 'moving depression', which sounds more like a brief description of a Joy Division song than a storm which we should all be cowering from.

However, some of you who may have been paying attention to some obscure news channels on Monday will have realised that there was a mild weather event that passed over Ireland, in the form of 'ex-Hurricane Ophelia'. "Now," you may be thinking, "It has been a while since my schooling days, but last time I checked, the letter 'o' did not come between the letters 'a' and 'b' in the alphabet". Well you my friend are correct, oh so painfully correct.

The National Hurricane Centre, the American meteorological body which deals with monitoring hurricane developments in the Atlantic, tracked the development of the weather system that became 'Ophelia'. It was upgraded from a tropical storm to a category 2 hurricane on October 11. However, it's trajectory was ludicrously unexpected and it became the most easterly major hurricane ever recorded. As such it was basically a storm that, given its positioning in the Atlantic, would've been expected to head roughly towards the Americas and was thus under the governance of American weatherpeople. However Ophelia would not bow to expectation and decided to take a sojourn north, towards Ireland and the UK and before we knew it, Teresa Mannion was back out in Salthill, waterproofed to the gills, trying to yell into a microphone about some wind.

Ophelia striking Ireland was a very unexpected and freak occurrence, whereas Storm Brian, which is predicted to strike Ireland next weekend, is developing in the part of the Atlantic which is traditionally expected to send these weaker weather systems north towards Ireland. It is therefore being monitored and named by the meteorological services of Ireland and the UK.


It is still unclear if they actually christen the hurricanes and storms by perhaps sending up a priest in a hot-air balloon to throw holy water on the developing storm.

I have imparted this knowledge to you. It is my gift and you will now now have a fun fact to regale your family with when your storm Brian has again cut off your electricity and you are huddled for survival around a candle with your nearest and dearest.

Also Read: Does Your Name Feature In Met Éireann's List of 2017/18 Storm Names?

Rory McNab

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