Hey Hurricane, how’d you get your name?

By on August 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Posted in: Odds & Ends

 Now that we’re getting into hurricane season, I thought I’d find the answer to a question I’ve had for some time: how do hurricanes get their names? Some of them are infamous and will never leave our memory – Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Katrina are perfect examples of that – but why Andrew? And why Katrina? Well, as it turns out, there’s actually a science to the naming of these storms – and it’s been that way for more than 50 years.

When a storm’s winds reach a sustained 39 miles per hour, it becomes a named tropical storm; if those winds top 74 miles per hour, then it keeps the name and becomes a hurricane.  

The World Meteorological Organization’s Hurricane Committee is the team responsible for naming each storm. There are actually six lists of names that have already been pre-selected and they’re used every six years.

There is an exception to the names listed though; the names of storms that cause a tremendous amount of damage (like Hurricane Katrina) are retired, and a new name is chosen. Each name is chosen in alphabetical order and each name rotates between male/female names. Take a look at the names on tap for the next couple of years:

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

 

 

If your name’s on that list, here’s hoping that the storm that shares your name is a relatively mild one! Otherwise, your nickname just might be “Hurricane” someday.

15 responses to “Hey Hurricane, how’d you get your name?

  1. smart79 says:

    Never hear of Beryl before that’s kinda cool

  2. Guy says:

    Gert? 

  3. The Other Guy says:

    How can you take a hurricane serious if its name is PattY?

  4. Rodney Moore says:

    Hurricane=a fast sugar, sugarcane in a windstorm=Speedycrose

  5. Crystal says:

    I will never, EVER be able to take a Hurricane Wendy seriously… the whole time, I’ll be envisioning Dave Thomas flying through the air, tumbling, shouting, “THANKS FOR STOPPIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGG!”

    And a little red-headed girl, in a cellar somewhere, flipping burgers. <double facepalms>

  6. Rachel rg says:

    I have a 21 year old daughter named Rebekah and whenever she comes over it does look and feel like a hurricane went through my house!!!

  7. Sean K says:

    Finally a Hurrican Sean, hopefully we never get that deep into the list tho

  8. Christy P says:

    Intersting, still doesn’t explain the names though, who those name just random

  9. Christy P says:

    Wow, horrible spellinh on my part and I didn’t get a chance to correct it sorry.

    What I was trying to say is that is an interesting, however it still does not explain those particular names.

  10. Lisa says:

    Seems like there are is a large amount of names  from Spanish decent…..
    Since this is the USA, and we make these lists, I would like to see more plain
    American names.

  11. Anonymous says:

    @Lisa: As outlined in the article the World Meteorological Organization is responsible for naming the storms. It’s fairly clear that names selected represent several different cultures not just American and not just Spanish.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Not to mention you’d be pretty hard pressed to find any name labeled as “American”, “English” yes, but not “American”. ;)

  13. Antonette C says:

    @Lisa Clearly you did not read the list, there are different ethnic backgrounds not just spanish. And as Anonymous said the word is English not American. These names are not personal or racial and shpuld not be labeled as such. Think about what it sounds like.

  14. Chris says:

    Hopefully we won’t make it to Wendy too quickly!

  15. Kerri says:

    I don’t think I could take several of these names serious. Like whitney–will it hit houston? or Jerry-wheres tom? or my fav Sebastien, under the sea, under the sea? reminds me too much of little mermaid!