Where do the names of Hurricanes come from?

August 18, 2007 at 9:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms are named in order to avoid confusion.

Sometimes, a storm will last several days or even a couple of weeks, and sometimes, more than one storm will be active at the same time, so forecasters back in WW II started naming the Pacific storms.

In 1950, the US Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) began naming storms in the Atlantic.

In 1953, the Weather Bureau switched to naming the storms with female names. I’m sure there were lots of jokes about that move when it happened, but in 1979, in the interest of fairness, men’s names were added to the list.

The names go from A to W, (Q, U, X, Y and Z aren’t used, because of the few names). The names alternate between male and female names, and after a noteworthy or infamous storm, the name is retired, like Katrina.

The list of names is created by the World Meteorological Organization, and rotates through a six year cycle, so this year’s list will be used again in 2013, minus any names that are retired. Retired names get replaced in the list.

Each year’s list has 21 names on it, and in the rare event that more than 21 tropical storms or hurricanes occur in a year, the list starts using the Greek alphabet, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.

There is a separate list of names for Atlantic storms, Eastern Pacific storms, Western Pacific storms, to avoid confusion.

Here’s the official list of names from the National Weather Service:
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml

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