Hurricanes: Names

IntroductionBasicsSaffir-Simpson ScaleDevelopmentNamesStructureStatisticsDatabase

Hurricanes are named to allow quick and effective communication of storm information. The naming system was introduced starting in the 1950 hurricane season to replace the old, more error-prone latitude-longitude system. The original naming system used the phonetic alphabet and repeated the same names each year. The more modern system of naming hurricanes began in 1953, when the National Hurricane Center formed a list of storm names using only women's names. Men's names were introduced starting in 1979 and they alternate with the women's names.

Today, six lists are maintained and used in rotation; therefore every 7th year, the names will repeat. The only time a storm name will not be repeated is if it proved to be a deadly or costly storm and its reuse would be inappropriate. Each year at a meeting of the World Meteorological Organization, the hurricane name list is reviewed and devastating storm names are replaced.

If a hurricane season proves to be particularly active, such as the 2005 hurricane season, and more than 21 named storms form, the Greek alphabet is used for storm names.

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