Why tropical storms and hurricanes are named

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 12:23 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - September 10 is climatologically the peak of the hurricane season in the Atlantic basin.

So far this hurricane season, there have been five named storms; 3 tropical storms and two hurricanes.

Every year, the World Meteorological Organization has a list of names given to each tropical system that develops.

Roaring winds, flooding rains and devastating storm surge. Millions living along the gulf coast and the atlantic coast of the united states are accustomed to the threat of hurricanes every year.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic basin runs from June 1 through November 30, and each tropical cyclone is given a name.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) began naming tropical storms and hurricanes in 1953 to avoid confusion when two or more tropical systems occur at the same time, and make communication easier.

Prior to 1953, tropical storms and hurricanes were named after the particular saint’s day on which the storm occurred.

Excluding the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z, only female names were given. Fast forward 26 years to 1979, male names were added to the list.

The world meteorological organization uses a list of 21 alternating male and female names in a six year rotation.

That means this year’s list of names will be used again in 2028 as long as the WMO does not decide to retire a name

A tropical storm or hurricane name is retired “if a storm is so deadly or costly that the use of its name for a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity.”

Since 1954, 94 tropical storm or hurricane names have been retired in the Atlantic basin.

Prior to 2021, if a list of names was exhausted, like the 2005 and 2020 season, the Greek alphabet was used for the list of names.

Starting last year, the World Meteorological Organization began creating a supplemental list of names if all 21 names are used up through the end of the year.

If you have a weather or science question you would like answered on Quad Cities Today at 11, e-mail Meteorologist Kyle Kiel at kyle.kiel@kwqc.com