How Hurricanes Are Named

Many people have wondered over the years just how are hurricanes named? The process is interesting but not really all that complicated. To begin with, when a tropical storm develops in the Atlantic Ocean, and winds reach 39 miles per hour, it is named. For example, Tropical Storm Katrina was coined when this infamous hurricane was first tracked as a tropical storm. Therefore, it is interesting to note that it is not hurricanes that are named, but rather the tropical storms are named and the name stays if these become hurricanes.
view Hurricanes formation

Atlantic hurricanes have been named for several hundred years. In the past, Caribbean residents used the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar to find names of the saint of the day to christen storms. If 2 hurricanes hit on the same date in separate years, these hurricanes were then referred to as the 1st and the 2nd.

When meteorology was still new, the storms in the United States were named using a latitude/longitude designation using the location of the storm’s origin. As you can imagine, these were rather hard to remember. In the 2nd World War, Pacific meteorologists started using women’s names for the storms. This method was so easy to use that it was taken on in 1953 by the National Hurricane Center as the official naming method for Atlantic Ocean storms. This helped to educate the public easier about hurricanes.

Men’s names started being used in 1978 with meteorologists located in the North Pacific. This was a half and half split between women’s names and men’s names that were picked up in 1979 on the Atlantic side. A list containing 21 names was developed alphabetically at the beginning each year. However, names starting with Q, U, X, Y, and Z were skipped. The first tropical storm of the season had an “A” name, the next one got a “B” name and so on. Men’s names were used on odd numbered storms during even numbered years, while it was the reverse for women’s names.

Currently, 6 lists of hurricane names used for the Atlantic Ocean storms are maintained by the World Meteorological Organization and are reused on a rotating basis.

Categories: Uncategorized