Although Norway sits a little too far north to get tropical cyclones, our coastline is still prone to get hit with bad weather quite frequently, and it is not rare for the winds to reach hurricane strength. People along the coast have lived at the mercy of the weather for thousands of years, and have developed a special relationship with storms. In many places it has become part of the language to address the weather as "he" rather than "it". Especially in the north, you can often hear locals say "he is windy today!".

Since 1995, Norwegian meteorologists have used a system to give names to storms, much like the tropical cyclones. In fact, Norway is the only country in Northern Europe to use a system like this. When meteorologists name storms, they have a set of rules to follow:

  • Names are in alphabetical order, from A to Y
  • Names must alternate between boys’ and girls’ names
  • Names should preferrably not contain the Norwegian letters æ, ø and å
  • Names must be established Norwegian names. As such, names beginning with C, Q, W or X are normally excluded.
  • Storms should not be named after celebrities or public figures, so don’t expect any Hurricane Harald or Hurricane Jens as long as the current King or Prime Minister are in power.

The names are made up in advance and put on a list. Only a small group of meteorologists at the Norwegian Institute of Meteorology have access to this list of names, and the meteorologist on duty is in charge of naming the storm whenever a public warning is issued. The reason for this naming system is to make it easier to tell the different storms apart, as they often hit in quick succession. Sometimes one even hits before the previous one is finished, as was the case with the hurricanes Gudrun, Hårek and Inga in 2005. Also, it is easier to relate to "Hurricane Tuva" rather than "that big storm of January 2008".

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