Who is calling her? When a hurricane is reported, everyone seems to know the name right away. But where did the name of the hurricanes come from? The body responsible for naming these meteorological phenomena is the World Meteorological Organization. It is based in Geneva and follows a strict procedure. The Atlantic List has a fixed annual relationship. There are 21 male and female names that alternate. Every year the list changes and a cycle is completed every 6 years. In the Pacific the procedure is identical. But the list has 24 names.
According to list order
Every time there is a new storm, the weather authorities just have to follow the instruction. So until a cycle is completed again. There is only one exception. In the event that a storm has an unusual impact on people’s lives, any country can request the World Meteorological Organization to remove it from the list. This happened, for example, with Hurricane Hugo. The devastating Category 1 cyclone caused dozens of deaths and property damage running into the millions. Or the Katrina, the fateful Category 5 storm, devastated the east coast of the United States in 2005.
The process was different in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many tropical storms that swept the West Indies were named after the saint of the day. For example the hurricane that hit Puerto. Rico was called “Santa Ana” in 1825. And the one who rocked the country in 1928 was called San Felipe. Australian meteorologist Clement Wragge was the first to use a real name to describe this meteorological phenomenon. He did this in the late 19th century. Apparently he started naming them alphabetically. First he followed the Greek and then the Roman alphabet. Then he settled on mythological and political names that he didn’t like. And finally he decided on feminine proper names.
In 1953, the United States began calling hurricanes out for women. This practice ended in 1978 when male names were included. In 1979 it was decided to change male and female names. Gender equality was built into the origin of the name for hurricanes.
In 2014 a study was published in the journal Procedure of the Natural Academy of Sciences. Scientists from the University of Illinois concluded something about hurricanes with female names. They caused greater numbers of casualties than those with a male name. According to the researchers, the population didn’t take them that seriously. And that’s why they relaxed the protective measures. They analyzed data from storms that had struck the United States for 60 years. Those named after women had killed almost twice as many people. The results of the investigation sparked a response from the US National Hurricane Center. They would emphasize the importance of looking at the tropical storm category, not their name.
A hurricane is a hurricane and needs to be considered. Whatever his name is.