Anna Answers: How are hurricanes named?

Weather Wisdom

Question: How are hurricanes named?

Answer: Hurricanes did not always have names. This was a practice adopted during the early 1950’s (NOAA NHC). Prior to being named the storms were referred to by the year they occurred and the order in which they occurred. The practice of naming the storms was done to make communication easier and quicker when referring to the storms. Originally only female names were used, but in the late 1970’s the practice of using both female and male names was adopted.

Now to get to who actually names the storms and how they are named:

The World Meteorological Organization decides the procedure. For hurricanes located in the Atlantic Ocean, there is a list of twenty-one alternating male and female names that are used on a six-year cycle. The list is alphabetical and excludes the following letters: Q, U, X, Y, and Z.

If a storm is deemed “extreme” enough in damage or lives lost, then the name is retired. If more than twenty-one named storms occur in a season an additional list of names is used. The names are often easily remembered and short to help reduce confusion and make communication about the storms easy.

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