Atmosphere And Weather

Storms Hurricanes Names World Meteorological Organization

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The name Rose conjures the image of a sweet, somewhat docile Midwestern woman similar to the character from the television show The Golden Girls. On a list of hurricanes it would seem so out of place. Yet, it is listed on one of six lists used by the World Meteorological Organization for worldwide tropical cyclone names. The six lists are rotated every six years. If one of the names is attached to a disastrous hurricane such as Katrina, the name is retired and never used again. This is for the benefit of people who may be traumatized by events associated with the name. A great idea, especially given that most people tend to talk about hurricanes as if they are life-like mischievous entities. "That damn David, came here and ripped everything apart" was an often-heard exclamation about the 1979 disaster of a storm that ripped through the Caribbean and Northeast.

A commonly asked question is, when did we start naming hurricanes? The idea originated in the West Indies hundreds of years ago. They would name such storms after Catholic saints. Later on in the 19th century an Australian meteorologist adopted the idea as well, but instead named the storms after women. It wasn't until 1953 that the United States began to use the same practice. In 1978, they added male names to the list. It is undetermined if this occurred as a result of the changing social climate of that era.

There are actually lists for ten different regions; The Atlantic, Western North Pacific, Papua New Guinea region, Southwest Indian Ocean, Eastern North Pacific, Australian region, Philippine region, Central north Pacific, Fiji region and North Indian Ocean region. Each of the regions have no less than two lists with names listed alphabetically. The names also tend to reflect the culture of those areas.

The majority of the names are short, easy-to-pronounce names. The names for 2009 were: Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, and Wanda. This list will not surface again until 2015.

Some of the most memorable names have been retired, meaning you will never hear of them again. Since 1954, seventy-three names have been retired. Many of them you may remember; David, Frederick, Allen, Alicia, Elena, Gloria, Gilbert, Joan, Hugo, Diana, Klaus, bob, Andrew, Luis, Marilyn, opal, Roxanne, Cesar, Fran, Hortense, Georges, Mitch, Floyd, Lenny, Keith, Allison, iris, Michelle, Isador, Lilli, Fabian, Isabel, Juan, Charley, Frances, Ivan, jean, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, Wilma, dean, Felix, noel, Gustav, Ike, and Paloma.

More about this author: Adai Goldberg

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