Tropical cyclones are named for historical reasons and so as to avoid confusion when communicating with the public as more than one tropical cyclone can exist at a time. Names are drawn in order from predetermined lists and are usually assigned to tropical cyclones with one-, three- or ten-minute windspeeds of more than 65 km/h (40 mph). However, standards vary from basin to basin with some tropical depressions named in the Western Pacific whilst tropical cyclones have to have gale force winds occurring more than halfway around the center within the Australian and Southern Pacific regions.
The official practice of naming tropical cyclones started in 1945 within the Western Pacific. Naming continued through the next few years before in 1950, names also started to be assigned to tropical storms forming in the North Atlantic ocean. In the Atlantic, names were originally taken from the World War Two version of the Phonetic Alphabet but this was changed in 1953 to use lists of women names which were created yearly. Around this time naming of tropical cyclones also began within the Southern and Central parts of the Pacific. However naming didn't begin in the Eastern Pacific until 1960 with the original naming lists designed to be used year after year in sequence. In 1960, naming also began in the Southwest Indian Ocean and in 1963 the Philippine Meteorological Service started assigning names to tropical cyclones that moved into or formed in their area of responsibility. Later in 1963 warning centers within the Australian region also commenced naming tropical cyclones. In 2011, the Brazilian Navy Hydrographic Center started using naming list to name tropical cyclones over the South Atlantic basin.
By 1950, tropical cyclones that were judged by the US Weather Bureau to have intensified into a tropical storm started to be assigned names. Storms were originally named in alphabetical order using the World War Two version of the Phonetic Alphabet. By 1952 a new phonetic alphabet had been developed and this led to confusion as some parties wanted to use the newer phonetic alphabet. In 1953, to alleviate any confusion, forecasters decided to use a set of 23 feminine names. After the 1953 Atlantic hurricane season, public reception to the idea seemed favorable, so the same list was adopted for the next year with one change; Gilda for Gail. However, after storms like Carol and Hazel got a lot of publicity during the 1953 season, forecasters agreed to develop a new set of names for 1955. However, before this could happen, a tropical storm was declared significant on January 2, 1955 and was named as Alice. The new set of names were developed and used in 1955 beginning with Brenda continuing through the alphabet to Zelda. For each season before 1960, a new set of names were developed. In 1960 forecasters decided to begin rotating names in a regular sequence and thus four alphabetical lists were established to be repeated every four years. The sets followed the example of the western Pacific typhoon naming lists and excluded names beginning with the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z. These four lists were used until 1972 when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), replaced them with 9 lists designed to be used from 1972. In 1977, NOAA made the decision to relinquish control over the name selection by allowing a regional committee of the World Meteorological Organization to select the new sets of names which would contain male names and some Spanish and French names in order to reflect all the cultures and languages within the Atlantic Ocean. The World Meteorological Organization decided that the new lists of hurricane name would start to be used in 1979. Since 1979 the same lists have been used, with names of significant tropical cyclones removed from the lists and replaced with new names. In 2002 Subtropical Cyclones started to be assigned names from the main list of names set up for that year. In 2005 as all the names preselected for the season were exhausted, the contingency plan of using Greek letters for names had to be used. Since then there have been a few attempts to get rid of the Greek names, as they are seen to be inconsistent with the standard naming convention used for tropical cyclones and are considered generally unknown and confusing to the public. However the lists of preselected names for the year, are not expected to be used up frequently enough to warrant any change in the existing naming procedure and thus the Greek Alphabet will be used if the list of pre selected names should ever be used up again.
Names used between 1950 – 1964
Names used between 1965 – 1979
Names used between 1980 – 1994
Names used between 1995 – 2008
Names used between 2009 – 2017
Within the Eastern Pacific basin between the western coasts of the Americas and 140°W the naming of tropical cyclones started in 1960, with four lists of female names initially designed to be used consecutively before being repeated. In 1965 after two lists of names had been used, it was decided to return to the top of the second list and to start recycling the sets of names on an annual basis.
In 1977, after protests by various women's rights groups, NOAA made the decision to relinquish control over the name selection by allowing a regional committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to select new sets of names. The WMO selected six lists of names which contained male names and rotated every six years. They also decided that the new lists of hurricane name would start to be used in 1978 which was a year earlier than the Atlantic. Since 1978 the same lists of names have been used, with names of significant tropical cyclones removed from the lists and replaced with new names. As in the Atlantic basin should the names preselected for the season be exhausted, the contingency plan of using Greek letters for names would be used. However unlike in the Atlantic basin the contingency plan has never had to be used, although in 1985 to avoid using the contingency plan, the letters X, Y, and Z were added to the lists. Since the contingency plan had to be used in the North Atlantic during 2005 there have been a few attempts to get rid of the Greek names as they are seen to be inconsistent with the standard naming convention used for tropical cyclones and are generally unknown and confusing to the public. However none of the attempts have succeeded and thus the Greek letters will be used should the lists be used up.
Names used between 1960–1969
Names used between 1970–1979
Names used between 1980–1989
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