Storms heading to Portsmouth - call them Steve and Gertrude

Storms battered Southsea in 2014
Storms battered Southsea in 2014

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THE UK could be battered by Storm Steve or Storm Gertrude in the next few years, it was revealed today.

It comes as the Met Office revealed the names that will be used to name new storms affecting the UK and Ireland.

Members of the public submitted suggestions via Twitter, Facebook and email as part of a crowdsourcing bid to gather new names.

A storm is named if it is deemed able to cause ‘substantial’ impact on the UK or Ireland.

And the full list of names chosen for future storms is as follows: Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude, Henry, Imogen, Jake, Katie, Lawrence, Mary, Nigel, Orla, Phil, Rhonda, Steve, Tegan, Vernon and Wendy.

Names will be allocated in alphabetical order, alternating between male and female, meaning that the next severe storm to batter the UK will be christened Abigail, with the second one named Barney.

Each letter of the alphabet has a name, barring Q, U, X, Y and Z – the same naming convention used in the US for North Atlantic storms.

Derrick Ryall, head of the public weather service at the Met Office, told the BBC: ‘We have seen how naming storms elsewhere in the world raises awareness of severe weather before it strikes.

‘We hope that naming storms in line with the official severe weather warnings here will do the same and ensure everyone can keep themselves, their property and businesses safe and protected at times of severe weather.’

The last big storms to hit the Portsmouth area came in the winter of 2013/2014 when a succession of storms battered the region for weeks on end.

In the January of 2014, beach huts were destroyed and the promenade was flooded as storms wreaked havoc on Hayling Island.

Strong gusts, large waves and rain combined to leave a trail of devastation on the seafront.

The Inn on the Beach pub was flooded as huge waves came over the sea defences.

The seafront at Southsea had to be closed to traffic as much of the beach and debris was blown into the road and Canoe Lake flooded into the surrounding parkland.

Hambledon spent three months under water as there was no let-up in the storms.

The North Atlantic breeds extraordinarily powerful storms which batter the UK from time to time.

Some scientists believe the melting of the Arctic ice caps is causing more weather instability in the ocean and will lead to more storms in the future.