What’s in a Name

Naming Your Hurricane


Credit for the picture goes to the National Ocean Service

Hunter Watson, Online Content Editor

You’ve wondered before how scientists pick what name to give the current water based natural disaster, right? Well, wonder no more! This article will explain exactly how the meteorologists decide to name the hurricanes.

There are six lists of names used for tropical storms that are reused every six years. For instance, the names we’re using for Hurricanes this year won’t be used again until 2023! There are exceptions to the rule though, and that is if a storm makes a big enough impact that using its name again would be insensitive. If this happens, that name is taken from the list and replaced with a new one. This has happened quite a few times since the invention of the Naming System.

There is one name for every letter of the alphabet up to W, excepting Q and U, for the Atlantic Ocean names, but the Eastern North Pacific lists have one for every letter, and Central North Pacific have lists based off their own culture. When the bottom of one list is reached, the next list begins. All the lists are decided by a committee from the United Nations World Meteorological Organization. The next name on the list for this year should be Nate.

One of the most popular questions that the UNWMO gets about hurricanes is, “Can I have one named after me?” The answer is no, since the organization doesn’t pander to specific names. If yours happens to pop up, then that’s just luck. Also, if we were to get more than 21 tropical storms in a season, then UNWMO would switch to the Greek alphabet to fill in the gap. If you would like to read more on this topic, visit http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml.