The history of naming hurricanes

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
The history of hurricane names
Take a look at the history of hurricane names and why some names are retired

Houston -- Why are storms named?

According to the National Hurricane Center, experience shows that the use of short distinctive names is easier to communicate to the public and causes less confusion. Before storms were named, confusion and false rumors occurred when storm advisories were mistaken for entirely different storms.

The history of naming storms goes back to the early 19th century when many hurricanes in the West Indies were named after the particular saint's day on which the hurricane occurred.

During World War II, Army and Navy meteorologists began using women's names to track storms over the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

The United States began naming storms with feminine names in 1953. The practice of naming storms after women came to an end in 1978.

An international committee of the World Meteorological Organization establishes a list of storm names for each of six years. Then the entire list rotation repeats.

The only time there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for obvious reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then the name of the storm is removed or retired from the list.

Retired storm names by year
Retired storms by name