Don’t encourage them!

LITTLE Britain – little in that it fits seven times into the state of Texas, let alone the rest of the US – has once again followed eagerly after our big cousins across the pond.

Now we name our storms, just like they have in America for years, and I don’t suppose I’m the only person to realise that our dogged and naive devotion has had one very obvious effect. It has encouraged the Weather Gods.

We used to take weather in our phlegmatic stride, even though we are (justifiably) known for endless discussions of it.

But if you have ever been in the US when a big weather event impends, you will know the wall-to-wall coverage that is given to the latest snowmageddon, snowpocalypse or snowzilla, tornadogate or hurricania. They do BIG weather over there, and now we are eager to jump on the floodgates.

In an increasingly litigious society, when we think of our legal and compensatory rights before breakfast, the forecasters, anxious not to be pilloried on anti-social media, want to be sure to warn of any potential effects of weather.

We have only been naming our big storms since 10th November 2015 when Abigail hove into view. Following the US pattern, we call them alternating alphabetical female and male names, and this week we have faced the wrath of Henry.

The reasoning for us to name our storms is given thus:
1 – To raise awareness of the dangers of storms
2 – To ensure greater public safety
3 – To avoid confusion if the name of the remnant of a tropical storm is used, for instance “the ex-hurricane Joaquin that reached Europe earlier this month.”
4 – To involve the public
5 – To operate with a common cross-border system

I suspect Item 4 is the critical one… involve the public. Let’s embrace the storm as it delivers its worst, let’s own it. Let’s be empowered by our ability to reference the paradigm shift in the weather situation.

It’s just another load of brand-driven dosh, I say, and it is very clearly encouraging those storms to do their worst over our land, rather than dissipating at sea like they often used to.

And what happens when we’ve run through the big butch names and are left with Hurricane Hubert or Storm Myrtle … oh, and scanning through the names, what about all those that might just have a Muslim, Jewish or Black root.  Isn’t the list depressingly lacking in any sort of multicultural balance? Oh the possibilities of litigation and reprisal are endless.

Hey, It’s raining, as we used to say!

Gay Pirrie-Weir