How do hurricanes get their names?

-Ever wondered why or how Hurricanes/ Storms are named? Or why feminine named Hurricanes seemingly do the most damage?

– Storms are not native to earth alone, other planets e.g Jupiter, Saturn also experience them.

– The Oceans all have their seasons of Hurricanes

– Storms with wind speeds > 63kph are termed tropical storms, > 119kph are called Hurricanes.

– Hurricanes = Typhoon = Cyclone, the part of the world it occurs determines what its called.

– They’re named to facilitate easy communication to citizens and make them relatable.

How do hurricanes get their names
Why are hurricanes named after females?

The World Metereological Organisation is responsible for the naming of all Tropical storms/Hurricanes.

– 21 Names are pre-selected every year, with male names for every odd number storms in an even number year & during odd number years female names are given to odd number storms.

– Prior to this, in 1953, the USA decided on naming Hurricanes with female names, reasons vary however most parrot the idea that given the Maritime industry gave the sea and ships feminine identity, then Hurricanes should be treated similarly.

– In 1979, due to some protest and need for equity, male names came on board.

– Names are arranged alphabetically, with alphabets Q,U,X,Y,Z lacking names. The names are repeated every 6 years.

– Hurricanes that cause severe destructions or damages have their names permanently retired. E.g Hurricane Katrina (2005).
– Studies carried out by Academy of science and other scientists have shown that the lackadaisical attitude of people to feminine named storms with feelings they’re likely to be less harmful is a proposed reason for the increased deaths and destruction associated with them.

– In 2020, there is one name left on the national Hurricane list as we have had one of the most active seasons ever in Hurricane history with the 20th name used days ago, if the names get exhausted, the Greek alphabet will be used to name additional storms that come up.


Dr Femi Afolayan


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