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How did we end up naming storms?

Also in our Barometer column: self-employment, diesel and snap elections

11 March 2017

9:00 AM

11 March 2017

9:00 AM

Naming the weather

Former BBC weatherman Bill Giles has said he’s fed up with storms being named.
— The practice of naming storms in the UK began with storm Abigail in October 2015, although some earlier storms, like Bertha in 2014, were the remnants of hurricanes already named in the US. The St Jude’s Day storm of 2013 took its name from the saint’s day on which it fell.

— The US National Hurricane Centre first named storms in 1950, when it started calling them by a phonetic alphabet: Able, Baker, Charlie etc. Three years later it switched to women’s names, starting with Alice, a damp squib with winds not exceeding 60mph. Its first male storm was Bob in 1979, a 65mph weakling.

— The practice began earlier in the Pacific; Australian meteorologist Clement Wragge was naming storms in the late 19th century..

Doing it for themselves

National Insurance contributions were to rise for the self-employed. Which industries have the most self-employment?

Construction 24% of workers
Financial/business activities 23%
Wholesale, retail and motor trade 9.1%
Transport, storage, communication 6.9%
Manufacturing 6.3%
Social work 6.1%
Hotels/restaurants 3.3%
Education/health 2.5%

Source: ONS

Diesel come, diesel go

Sales of diesel cars have fallen by 10 per cent following revelations about pollution. How did their numbers grow, in terms of a percentage of all cars sold?

1990 6.4%
1995 20%
2000 14%
2005 37%
2010 46%
2015 48%
1990 14%
1995 23%
2000 33%
2005 50%
2010 52%
2015 52%

Source: European Automobile Manufacturers’ Assocation

Playing snap

William Hague called for Theresa May to call a snap general election this spring, which would be just two years after the last election. Eight general elections have been called after shorter periods:

1886 6 months 24 days
October 1974 7 months 10 days
1924 10 months 23 days
1831 and 1911 11 months 16 days
1923 11 months 21 days
1966 17 months 15 days
1951 20 months 2 days

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