How Hurricanes Are Given Their Names

GREENSBORO, N.C.- - Thursday's 2 Wants To Know weather question is about how hurricane's get their names. This is a frequent question that the WFMY Weather Team receives and believe it or not we have nothing to do with names given to tropical systems.

An international committee called the World Meteorological Organization is in charge of updating and naming these names. There are six lists that are used and are rotated every six years; for example, the 2014 list will be used again in 2020. If a storm is very deadly or costly then the WMO committee will decide to retire the name. This decision is made at the end of the season during their annual meeting, and replace it with a different name.

The rotation of names is alphabetical and alternates between male and female names. The list for 2014 started with Arthur and next year (2015) will start with Ana. Names that start with the letter Q, U, X,Y,& Z are not used because there is not enough names to start with those letters. In the event that we use all of the names in a given year and need more, we would take names from the Greek alphabet. You may remember this happening in 2005, which was one of the most active years on record. There were 27 named storms in 2005, six of those names came from the Greek alphabet. This was the first year in history to use up all of the names and go into the Greek alphabet. Five storms were retired and replaced.

Tropical cyclones names are determined based upon what is familiar within the region of where those storms are named. Therefore the Eastern Pacific and Indian Ocean would have names that would be familiar to them in their region.


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