Sunday, September 4, 2011

Interesting Facts on Storm Names

Hurricane Irene

Recently I was chatting with a friend about Hurricane Irene which touched the east coast of the USA last weekend. She was wondering why all east coast hurricanes seem to be named using girls names. So I had some fun doing a bit of research about the naming of hurricanes here in the USA.

First of all, I knew that not only girls names are used for storms and hurricanes. Storms are named through the alphabet, alternating between girls and boys names. For example Hurricane Irene was followed by Hurricane Joel and then Katia. It does seem recently that more of the hurricanes with feminine names have touched land and therefore they get more publicity.

After this I had to do some research and found some interesting facts about the naming of storms. In 1979 the World Meteorologist Organization are the ones who originally made up six alphabetical lists of names to be used for storms. The lists are rotated through so that the same names are used over and over again. In 2011 the same names used in 1999 and 2005 are being used.
The name lists and the years used look like this:

Click Image to View names larger
(list came from

The only exception to this list is with storms that are particularly destructive (like hurricane Katrina in 2005), then the name can be replaced with a different name starting with the same letter (like this year Katrina was retired and Katia has been added to the list in it's place). I found a list of Retired Hurricane Names with what years they were retired (this list doesn't include info for 2011).
A few names I'm glad they took off the storm naming list are: Andrew, Eloise, David, Elena, Fabian, Hugo, Keith and Opal.

My parents still mention Hurricane Andrew of 1992 from time to time. How glad they must be that my brother, Colin Andrew "Andy", was born the year before this storm. I remember in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina went through it created so much damage and I thought at the time how awful it was that such a beautiful name had been given to such a horrible storm. I'm sure the name Katrina has suffered a downfall in popularity since that time.

Would you still used a name you liked even if it was associated with a natural disaster (hurricane, storm, volcano)?
Are storms in your area given names?

Your Resident Name Enthusiast,
Miss Laurie :)

1 comment:

Mel said...

This was such an interesting post, I loved it. I am not sure that I would like a name if it was associated with a natural disater. I suppose it would depend upon the scale of the disater, whether or not it was publicised heavily in the media and how close to home it was. I certainly wouldn't want to call my child something which would be associated with death and destruction.
I guess I really hope that none of my favourite names are ever used for large scale natural disaters because I love them too much to want to change them now :)