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Hurricane Names


A History of Hurricane Names

For several hundred years, many hurricanes in the West Indies were named after the particular saint's day on which the hurricane occurred. Clement Wragge, an Australian meteorologist, began giving women's names to tropical storms before the end of the 19th century. During World War II, this practice became widespread in weather map discussions among forecasters, especially Air Force and Navy meteorologists.

In 1953, the United States weather services began using female names for storms. The practice of naming hurricanes solely after women came to an end in 1978 when men's and women's names were included in the Eastern North Pacific storm lists. In 1979, male and female names were included in lists for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Why Hurricanes Are Named
Experience shows that the use of short, distinctive given names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and less subject to error than the older more cumbersome latitude-longitude identification methods. The use of easily remembered names greatly reduces confusion when two or more tropical storms occur at the same time.

Present Procedure in the North Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico
The Tropical Prediction Center near Miami, FL, keeps a constant watch on oceanic storm-breeding areas for tropical disturbances that may herald the formation of a hurricane. If a disturbance intensifies into a tropical storm - with rotary circulation and wind speeds above 38 miles per hour - the Center will give the storm a name from one of the six lists below. The Center uses a new set of names each year beginning with the first name in the set. After the sets have all been used, they are reused. The letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z are not included because of the scarcity of names beginning with those letters. TPC retires a name after a major land-falling storm with major economic impact.

The name lists have an international flavor because hurricanes affect other nations and are tracked by the public and weather services of many countries. Names for these lists are selected from library sources and agreed upon at international meetings of the World Meteorological Organization.

Atlantic Names:

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Alberto
Beryl
Chris
Debby
Ernesto
Florence
Gordon
Helene
Isaac
Joyce
Kirk
Leslie
Michael
Nadine
Oscar
Patty
Rafael
Sandy
Tony
Valerie
William
Andrea
Barry
Chantal
Dean
Erin
Felix
Gabrielle
Humberto
Ingrid
Jerry
Karen
Lorenzo
Melissa
Noel
Olga
Pablo
Rebekah
Sebastien
Tanya
Van
Wendy
Arthur
Bertha
Cristobal
Dolly
Edouard
Fay
Gustav
Hanna
Ike
Josephine
Kyle
Laura
Marco
Nana
Omar
Paloma
Rene
Sally
Teddy
Vicky
Wilfred
Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Erika
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Joaquin
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda
Alex
Bonnie
Colin
Danielle
Earl
Fiona
Gaston
Hermine
Igor
Julia
Karl
Lisa
Matthew
Nicole
Otto
Paula
Richard
Shary
Tomas
Virginie
Walter
Arlene
Bret
Cindy
Don
Emily
Franklin
Gert
Harvey
Irene
Jose
Katia
Lee
Maria
Nate
Ophelia
Philippe
Rina
Sean
Tammy
Vince
Whitney

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