Is newly-named 'Abigail' storm about to hit the UK?

A storm is rising?
A storm is rising?
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Abigail, the first newly-named storm of the winter, could be about to hit the UK.

As rain and heavy winds batter the UK, weather experts are wondering whether we could be about to experience Abigail - the first named storm on a list announced earlier this year.

List of hurricane names

List of hurricane names

The Met Office and its Irish counterpart Met Éireann ran a competition to name storms as part of a bid to make people take more notice of weather warnings.

The next storm of severe enough proportions - one with the potential to cause "substantial" impact on the UK or Ireland - will be called Abagail, followed by Barney, and so on, according to the list.

While the Met Office has yet to name a UK storm, many are predicting that Abagail could hit this week if storms trigger a "red" or "amber" warning.

Last night only a yellow "be prepared" alert was in place, but Met Office forecaster Sophie Yeomans warned gusts in some isolated places could reach 65 to 75 mph.

Conditions are expected to be worst in northern England and south-western Scotland.

The new names are intended to raise awareness of bad weather so that people take care when conditions are dangerous.

The Met Office asked for ideas from the public, and received thousands of responses via email, Facebook and Twitter, and published the full list of potential hurricane names last month: Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude, Henry, Imogen, Jake, Katie, Lawrence, Mary, Nigel, Orla, Phil, Rhonda, Steve, Tegan, Vernon and Wendy.

The letters letters Q, U, X, Y and Z were missed out to ensure the Met Office is in line with the US National Hurricane Centre naming conventions.

The idea for new names came after social media phenomena in 2011 and 2013.

When severe weather around October 28 - St Jude’s Day - 2013, it was referred to as the St Jude's storm. In Scotland in December 2011, the Friedhelm cyclone was renamed - unofficially - as Hurricane Bawbag.