How Hurricanes Are Named

This article explains how the practice of naming hurricanes began.
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Science (4,732)

Earth Science (1,176)


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Updated on: October 19, 1999

How Hurricanes Are Named

In 1953, the United States Weather Service first started naming hurricanes after women. Wives, girlfriends, even Bess Truman, the former first lady, were all "honored" with namesake storms. By 1979, men's names were added in response to protest from women's groups. Since then, six lists of names have been drawn up. Each year's storm season starts out at the A-name of a new list. After six years, the lists are used over again. The names for 2000's storms were last used in 1994.

2000:Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Keith, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, William.

2001:Allison, Barry, Chantal, Dean, Erin, Felix, Gabrielle, Humberto, Iris, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Michelle, Noel, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van, Wendy.

2002:Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Isidore, Josephine, Kyle, Lili, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, Wilfred.

2003:Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fabian, Grace, Henri, Isabel, Juan, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, Wanda.

2004:Alex, Bonnie, Charley, Danielle, Earl, Frances, Gaston, Hermine, Ivan, Jeanne, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tomas, Virginie, Walter.

2005:Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katrina, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince, Wilma

Once a hurricane has caused great damage, its name is retired. The following hurricanes were so bad, their names won't be used again.

Camille, 1969; David, 1979; Fredrick, 1979; Allen, 1980; Alicia, 1983; Elena, Gloria, 1985; Gilbert, Joan, 1988; Hugo, 1989; Bob, 1991; Andrew, 1992; Luis, Marilyn, Opal, Roxanne, 1995; Hortense, Cesar, Fran, 1996; Georges, Mitch, 1998.

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