USA News

How do hurricanes get their name? Here’s what you need to know – NBC Chicago

A tropical depression has formed in the Caribbean Sea and could become a hurricane threat for the western Caribbean and southeastern United States next week, the National Hurricane Center said Friday.

Tropical Depression Nine has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and is currently located 615 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, moving west-northwest at 13 mph.

It is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm, which is a cyclone with sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph, later Friday and given a name: Tropical Storm Hermine.

Here’s why Tropical Depression Nine would be called Hermine, and how the storms get there:

Why do we name hurricanes?

The history of hurricane naming dates back to the 1800s, with the earliest evidence of named storms found in Puerto Rico. Residents of the island nation named the storms after the day saint of the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar for the day the hurricane struck.

For example, there was “Hurricane Santa Ana”, which hit Puerto Rico with brutal force on July 26, 1825, and “San Felipe the First” and “San Felipe the Second” which hit Puerto Rico on July 13, 1825. September in 1876 and 1928, according to NOAA.

Until the early 1950s, American scientists tracked tropical storms and hurricanes by year and the order in which they occurred during that season.

However, they quickly realized that naming storms before they made landfall reduced confusion when giving advisories in cases where multiple storms swirled through an area at the same time.

In 1951, the United States began naming storms, initially using a phonetic alphabet (Able, Baker, Charlie) before changing it to all female names in 1953, according to NOAA.

The practice of naming hurricanes only after females ended in 1978 when both male and female names were included in lists of Northeast Pacific storms. In 1979, both male and female names were included in lists for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

When it comes to hurricanes, there are more than meets the eye. Here’s where the word “hurricane” comes from and how these powerful storms are different (or not) from cyclones.

How do hurricanes get their name?

The National Hurricane Center does not decide the names of tropical storms. This role falls to the World Meteorological Organization, a special international committee of scientists.

For Atlantic hurricanes, there are six lists of 21 names – one for each letter of the alphabet except the letters Q, U, X, Y or Z due to their limited availability – which are used on an annual rotation. The only time there is a change is if a storm is so deadly or so costly that future use of its name on another storm would be inappropriate. If this happens, the committee withdraws this name and replaces it with another one. Hurricanes Andrew, Sandy, Hugo, and Ida are all examples of retired storm names.

When the number of named storms in a season exceeds 21, the WMO uses an additional list of names starting at the beginning of the alphabet with the letter A. This additional list is a new modification of the system. Until 2021, the organization used Greek letters when the Atlantic ran out of names for the year. However, the committee said the practice was confusing because the letters Zeta, Eta and Theta sounded so similar that they caused problems.

The WMO has removed 94 Atlantic hurricane names due to a storm’s killer history and 12 of them started with the letter I. No other letters even come close. National Hurricane Center senior hurricane specialist Daniel Brown, who serves on the WMO committee, told The Associated Press the reason is likely because hurricanes are named alphabetically and “when we come to the name I, we are in peak hurricane season” and storms are the kind that live longer and are stronger.

What are the names of the hurricanes for 2022?

Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts an above-normal 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.

usa gb1

Back to top button