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'I wonder where he's from?' How people reacted to Storm Ali

As 'Storm Ali' rages on across the UK and Ireland, social media users can't help but poke fun at the name
Huge waves strike the harbour wall and lighthouse at Porthcawl, south Wales, October 2017 (AFP)

Storm Ali has wreaked havoc across the UK and Ireland, sparking weather warnings for much of the two countries. The islands' first named storm of the season has not only been delivering 80mph winds to the country, it's also blown up a gale of tweets.  

One of the first non-Anglo-Irish names for a storm to have been issued by the UK's Met Office and the Irish Republic's Met Eireann, which have jointly run the "Name our storms" scheme since 2015, Ali has caused quite a stir on social media.

People are questioning the name and pointing out that Storm Ali has struck during the month of Muharram, a significant month in the Islamic calendar.

The day of Ashura - which fell on Wednesday - is an important Muslim holy day. It is believed that Moses’s miracle of dividing the Red Sea falls on this day - which is the 10th day of the first month in the Islamic calendar - a fitting miracle when waves have crashed against UK & Irish coastlines. 

Ashura also marks the death of Hussein ibn Ali, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson - and important figure for Shia Muslims - again raising the question if this name has a link. Hussein's father Ali, one of the Prophet's companions, is a key figure for Shia, and his name is particularly popular in the community as a result.

Whatever the reasons behind the Met Office's choice, it certainly got tongues wagging and speculation raging online.

The Met Office and Met Eireann started a storm naming project in 2015, whereby members of the public can submit their suggestions. Last year they received in excess of 10,000 suggestions. 

Graham Madge, a spokesperson for the Met Office, explained to MEE the process behind choosing names for storms in the UK & Ireland.

"If the name has already been associated with another storm that has caused fatalities it will be disregarded, however if the name suggested is popular within the UK & Ireland it will have a higher chance [of being short listed]," he said.

The country's weather monitoring body made Ali the first name it chose for storms heading to the UK and Ireland in the 2018/19 season.

When asked specifically on the name "Ali" being chosen Madge said "we like to ensure diversity within the UK  and Ireland is promoted, which is why we see many Irish names also included"

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Storm Ali has even inspired a satirical scetch from comedian Guz Khan:

"We have got to put a stop to the invasion of this great nation from foreign storms," the comedian jokes. "Storm Ali? I wonder where he's from?

"You don't have to be a genius, yeah. They're attacking us through the airwaves. What happened to the days of the good old British storms, eh?"