Express & Star

Kathleen is only second time K has been reached in storm alphabet

The Met Office began naming storms in 2015.

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Floodwater surrounds a section of the A64 near Tadcaster in the aftermath of storm Jocelyn in January 2024

Storm Kathleen, which arrives on Saturday, will be the eleventh named storm in eight months and only the second time in a UK storm season that the letter K has been reached in the alphabet.

Storm seasons run from the start of September to the end of the following August.

The first time the letter K was reached was in March 2016, with Storm Katie.

(PA Graphics)

No storm season has ever got beyond the letter K.

The Met Office began naming storms in 2015.

Last year’s storm season, which ran from September 2022 to August 2023, made it only as far as the letter B, with Storm Betty in August.

By contrast, this year’s season has seen Storm Agnes in September 2023, Babet in October, Ciaran and Debi in November, Elin, Fergus and Gerrit in December, Henk, Isha and Jocelyn in January 2024, and now Kathleen in April.

Not all of the alphabet is used when naming storms.

The letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are omitted, in line with convention established by the US National Hurricane Centre.

It means the storm names still available for the current season are Lilian, Minnie, Nicholas, Olga, Piet, Regina, Stuart, Tamiko, Vincent and Walid.

The Met Office’s list of storm names is shared with Met Eireann in Ireland and KNMI, the Dutch national weather forecasting service.

Storm Kathleen weather warning April 6 2024
(PA Graphics)

Kathleen was named by Met Eireann.

The UK occasionally experiences a storm that has been named by a country that is not one of these three.

For example, in December 2023 Northern Ireland was hit by strong winds that were part of Storm Pia, which was named by the Danish Met Office.

This particular storm was not first detected by the Met Office, Met Eireann or KNMI, so was not given a name by them.

In the Met Office list of storm names for 2023/24, the letter P has been assigned the name Piet.

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