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How tropical cyclones get their names

Last Updated: Aug 15, 2014 03:28PM CDT


​Up to the early 1950s, tropical cyclones were followed by year and the sequence in which they developed during that year. Over time, it was discovered that using short and simple names in written and spoken communications is faster, easier, and decreases confusion when multiple tropical storms are ongoing at the same time. In the past, confusion and false rumors occurred when tropical cyclone forecasts aired from radio stations were falsely taken for warnings regarding a completely separate storm located thousands of miles away.

In 1953, the U.S. began using female names for storms and, by the middle of the 1970s, both male and female names were used to classify Northern Pacific storms. This then began in 1979 for storms in the Atlantic basin.

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) does not decide the names of tropical cyclones. Instead, there is a stern method created by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). For Atlantic tropical cyclones, there is a list of male and female names which are recycled every 6 years. The only time that there is a change is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future usage of its name on a different storm would be improper. In the occurrence that over 21 named tropical storms develop in a season, extra storms will take names from the Greek alphabet.

Below are the names that will be used for 2015:

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