How Are Hurricanes and Typhoons Named?
Before theِ 20th century, notable tropical cyclones (also called typhoons orِ hurricanes, depending onِ geography) wereِ generally identified byِ the time whenِ theyِ occurred orِ the location whereِ theyِ struck.
Thus, theِ San Mateo Hurricane ofِ 1565—which, byِ decimating a French fleet onِ itsِ way toِ attack theِ Spanish settlement inِ St.
Meanwhile, theِ hurricane thatِ devastated Galveston, Texas, inِ 1900, killing 6,000–12,000 people, isِ remembered asِ the Great Galveston Hurricane.
The practice ofِ giving storms personal names appears toِ haveِ originated withِ Clement Wragge, anِ Australian meteorologist whoِ inِ the 1890s entertained himselfِ byِ naming storms afterِ women, mythical figures, andِ politicians thatِ heِ didn’t like.
The modern system ofِ using personal names developed duringِ World War II, whenِ meteorologists began usingِ women’s names—often thoseِ ofِ wives orِ girlfriends—instead ofِ cumbersome designations based onِ latitude andِ longitude.
The system wasِ formalized inِ 1953 whenِ theِ National Weather Service put togetherِ anِ alphabetical list ofِ female names toِ beِ used forِ storms inِ the Atlantic basin.
So howِ areِ names picked today.
A special committee ofِ the World Meteorological Organization maintains lists ofِ names toِ beِ used forِ tropical cyclones.
The letters Q, U, X, Y, andِ Z areِ not usedِ becauseِ there areِ not enoughِ availableِ names.