General Question

flo's avatar

How does the WMO decide what to name the Hurricanes other than by the alphabetical order part?

Asked by flo (10342points) 4 weeks ago

From Jose to Maria, no Katia and Lee? Are they retired? Some are retired because:
”...“retired”—that is, if a storm is so destructive or deadly that it would be insensitive to continue to use the name.”
http://abc7.com/weather/maria-jose-lee-where-do-hurricane-names-come-from/2378543/
But I see them listed here:
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml

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35 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

They also alternate between male and female names. Prior to 1979 all hurricanes were female.

flo's avatar

Also how do they decide on the rest of the letters of the name?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
stanleybmanly's avatar

They give hurricanes short readily recognized first names in order to avoid confusion when 2 or more storms are blowing at the same time. The name is retired for particularly destructive storms, but other names with the same first letter as the retiree are still available.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
flo's avatar

@stanleybmanly But how do they decide between the short, readily recognizable first names? There are so many of them out there.

flo's avatar

Maybe when the whole thing started the 1st one was Aaron…

JLeslie's avatar

You said you see the names listed in your second link. That’s right, the 2017 names we are cycling through now.

If the storm hits land and does some damage then the name is retired. A lot of storms just stay out in the Atlantic and don’t do much of anything, but annoy fishermen and cruise ships who have to take different routes or delay.

zenvelo's avatar

The mal/female order also alternates each year. So if one year is Alice, Bob, Kathy, David, the next year would be Adam, Betty, Charlie, Doris.

The names are published in advance, but there isn’t a lot of craft to it as long as a retired name isn’t reused.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@flo My guess is there’s a list. Let’s take Harvey. If they exhaust the alphabet and arrive at H again within 6 years and a name is required, they’d pick a name that falls alphabetically after Harvey, like Hazel if it’s the turn for a lady or Henry if a man.

JLeslie's avatar

No guessing needed. There is a list and @flio provided the link.

Muad_Dib's avatar

It’s like naming a baby. They just pick some names. It’s not rocket surgery.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Not all names are short or super easy to remember. It seems to me that most of the names are uncommon names… in 2020 for example, the name Cristobal is on the list. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I didn’t know that was a name.

Looking at the list again, some names are super common (Michael). They could just be using a generator, or they could be going for names that are easy to pronounce and aren’t going to get confused with other words/names on radios?

Muad_Dib's avatar

Hi sq, glad to see you’re among the living.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@SergeantQueen It’s very much a name (and a significant saint) if you are Hispanic—Christopher.

JLeslie's avatar

Cristóbal Colón—Christopher Columbus. He’s Italian though, so his given name was actually Cristoforo I think. I’m not sure. Anyway, in the Spanish history books he’s referred to by his Spanish name Cristóbal Colón.

I remember several years ago we had a Hurricane Georges, which is a little odd for English speakers.

My husband pointed out all of the hurricanes smacking the US this year are Spanish names. He thought it was ironic with Trump as president.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Hmm. Interesting. I feel like it was somewhat familiar but who knows.
I figured the names for hurricanes were generated randomly, but it would be awesome if they had some sort of significance to the hurricane/ history. Seems like doing that would require too much time/ effort.

I am also happy to see that I am still alive

stanleybmanly's avatar

@JLeslie Yeah it’s like “let’s see you wall ME out you turkey”

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah. Lol.

flo's avatar

Ok, thanks all. Just how about why they skipped Katia and Lee (in the link I posted) to get to Maria?

JLeslie's avatar

Katie and Lee didn’t threaten the US so you didn’t hear much about them.

Most people are oblivious to all the storms coming off of the coast of Africa, and some develop in other places. That’s why when the weather starts making people hysterical about a tropical storm two weeks away I get annoyed. A lot of them just stay out in the Atlantic and dissipate.

flo's avatar

Thanks @JLeslie. Did you find that from a site?

flo's avatar

… if from a site would you post the link.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Katia hit the Yucatan peninsula. Lee died out in the Atlantic.

I got that from local weather news, and I follow several meteorologists on Twitter.

flo's avatar

I meant that the fact that they only name the ones that hit USA.

Muad_Dib's avatar

They name anything that becomes a tropical storm or better. The non-Gulf coast states may not hear about storms that pose little or no threat to the United States because Mexico being hit by a hurricane isn’t big news to people in Idaho or whatever.

JLeslie's avatar

Right. You don’t hear about the storms if it isn’t affecting the US, and you live far from a southern coast line. Unless, you watch the tropical report on The Weather Channel or something similar.

Katia

Lee

zenvelo's avatar

@flo Your supposition ”...the fact that they only name the ones that hit USA is false.

Harvey was not the first hurricane of the season, it was the 8th. But I bet you can’t name the first seven without looking at your list, or where they were and went without googling.

flo's avatar

@JLeslie What I meant is a sites that address how they decide on names of hurricanes,(similar to the link I posted) not a site that addresses individual hurricaines.

Also, why are Katia and Lee on the list for 2017 if they didn’t affect US?

flo's avatar

….Were they expecting them to hit US but Katia and Lee did the unexpected thing?

Muad_Dib's avatar

Because the list is for all Tropical systems that develop in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico (there’s a separate list for Pacific typhoons).

The storms begin off the coast of Africa as a tropical wave. Once they develop into what’s called a “tropical depression”, they’re given a number. If they organize and develop sustained winds of 35 miles per hour, they’re called a tropical storm and assigned a name. The first tropical storm of the year gets the A name, the second the B name, and so on.

We don’t wait to name the storms until after they hit the US. Obviously.

zenvelo's avatar

@flo it has nothing to do with if they hit the US or not.

JLeslie's avatar

@flo The answers immediately above me from Mia’s and zenvelo are correct. It has nothing to do with the US. It has to do with hitting land and being very destructive. If a storm hits Mexico the name gets retired same as if it hit the US.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The USA is still not the center of the Universe.

~ ~ ~ But people are working on It. ~ ~ ~

flo's avatar

Thanks all although I have to get back to this thread and reread your answers.

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