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Storm Naming in the Atlantic Ocean region

The practice of naming storms began years ago in order to help in the quick identification of tropical cyclones in warning messages because names are presumed to be far easier to remember than numbers and technical terms. Many agree that appending names to storms makes it easier for the media to report on cyclones, heightens interest in warnings and increases community preparedness.


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. These advantages are especially important in exchanging detailed storm information between hundreds of widely scattered stations, coastal bases, and ships at sea.


In the beginning, storms were named arbitrarily. An Atlantic storm that ripped off the mast of a boat named Antje became known as Antje's hurricane. Then the mid-1900's saw the start of the practice of using feminine names for storms.


In the pursuit of a more organized and efficient naming system, meteorologists later decided to identify storms using names from a list arranged alphabetically. Thus, a storm with a name that begins with A, like Anne, would be the first storm to occur in the year.  Before the end of the 1900's, forecasters started using male names for those forming in the Southern Hemisphere.


Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the US National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. The original name lists featured only women's names. In 1979, men's names were introduced and they alternate with the women's names. Six lists are used in rotation. Thus, the 2008 list will be used again in 2014.


The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name for another storm would be inappropriate. If that case, WMO coordinates the removal of that name from the list and its replacement by a new name. In other Ocean regions impacted by tropical cyclones similar practices for naming of tropical cyclones in their respective regions exist. Infamous storm names such as Katrina (USA, 2005) and Mitch (Honduras, 1998) are examples for this.

Storm Names for Atlantic

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

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

Alberto
Beryl
Chris
Debby
Ernesto
Florence
Gordon
Helene
Isaac
Joyce
Kirk
Leslie
Michael
Nadine
Oscar
Patty
Rafael
Sandy
Tony
Valerie
William

Andrea
Barry
Chantal
Dorian
Erin
Fernand
Gabrielle
Humberto
Ingrid
Jerry
Karen
Lorenzo
Melissa
Nestor
Olga
Pablo
Rebekah
Sebastien
Tanya
Van
Wendy

Media, institutions and individuals sometimes use names to refer to storms that are not classified as cyclones or typhoons by the relevant authoritative WMO centres. This is, in particular, the case of storms crossing the North Atlantic and making land fall in Europe. As this practice is not recognized by WMO, it is recommended that any use of such names make reference to its source (e.g. in the case of Europe for instance, the University of Berlin).

For more information about hurricane, please visit WMO web sites :
http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/tcp/index_en.html
http://severe.worldweather.wmo.int/

For more specific regional information:
RSMC Miami Hurricane Centre (Regional Specialized Meteorological Center, designated by WMO and functioning within the framework of the Tropical Cyclone Programme of WMO)
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

 

WMO is the United Nations' authoritative voice on weather, climate and water
For more information please contact:
Ms Carine Richard-Van Maele, Chief, Communications and Public Affairs, WMO. Tel.: +41 (0)22 730 83 15; cpa[at]wmo.int
Ms Gaëlle Sévenier, Press Officer, Tel. +41 (0) 22 730 8417

 

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