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Hurricanes receive names

Claire Dwyer

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Maria, Jose, Irma, and Harvey. In wake of many recent destructive hurricanes, it has been noticed that  major storms are referred to with normal “human” names. The history surrounding naming storms started during World War II to avoid confusion while discussing storms that were forming over the Pacific. However, in the Caribbean, hurricanes were traditionally named after the saint whose holiday was being celebrated on the day the storm landed.

Hurricanes were named after women until 1978 in the Pacific and 1979 in the Atlantic. Names have been established by a committee from the World Meteorological Organization, which created a list of names that rotate through every six years that are given to a tropical storm that forms.

Each list has 21 names for each hurricane season. However, if for some reason meteorologists assign all 21 names to a storm, any other storms will be named after a letter of the Greek alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, etc.). If a storm is deemed very destructive and caused a severe amount of damage after it made landfall, it is retired from the list. For example, the names Katrina and Sandy have since been removed from the list to avoid any possible confusion and to avoid offending the people impacted by the storm.

“I think the one in Texas and the one in Puerto Rico especially were huge, so I think they will be retired,” freshman Sofia Koeppl said.

Naming tropical storms is a tradition that has long been a part of tropical cultures and still is influential today. By naming these storms, confusion is avoided in media reports, and it allows people to remember and understand the approaching storm.

“Names are helpful because that way you know what you are talking about because there are so many,” Koeppl said.

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Hurricanes receive names