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Hurricane Naming
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Retired Hurricane Names

Naming of Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

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Hurricane Andrew of 1992

Whats in a Name? How do Hurricanes and Tropical Storms get names? These are some of the questions you might wonder. Hurricane naming began back in 1950, when meteorologists wanted to give tropical storms and hurricanes an easy name to remember them by, instead of just plain "Hurricane Six" or "Tropical Storm 8b". So, in 1950, the National Hurricane Center named hurricanes from the World War 2 phonetic alphabet. Hurricanes that year were given names such as "Dog", "Barker", "Item", and "Jig". And yes, these names did sound a little funny, that is probably why they only used these names until 1952.

In the Hurricane Season of 1953, they tried a different approach - giving the hurricanes human names. They started out just using female names, and this lasted over 25 years until in 1979, men's names were incorporated into the list. 1979 was also the first year that there was a full prechosen list of names. There were a total of six lists, and were repeated every six years. So there was a storm named Ana in 1979, and again in 1985. The lists would remain unchanged unless a storm would be severe enough to have the name retired. Examples of retired names include Andrew of 1992, Ivan of 2004, and David of 1979. Retired names will never be used again, and are always replaced by a name of the same letter and gender. Keep in mind that tropical depressions do not recieve names until if and when they reach tropical storm strength.

Naming of Subtropical Storms and other storms

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Subtropical Storm Ana in April 2003

Subtropical storms were originally not given names and were referred to as "Subtropical Storm One", "Subtropical Depression One" and so on. Then, subtropical storms were named from 1972 to 1973, when the NHC called them "Neutercanes" meaning a mixture of a tropical and an extratropical storm. During this time, they gave subtropical storms names from the Greek Alphabet. After 1973, The NHC went back to just calling them by numbers.

It was in 2002, when the NHC decided to give subtropical storms names from the same list as tropical storms. The first subtropical storm to take a name was Ana in April of 2003. Subtropical Depressions were given numbers in the same order as the rest of the tropical storms. For example, Subtropical Depression 22 in 2005 was the first subtropical system of the year, but instead of taking the number "Subtropical Depression One", it took the number from the sequence of the rest of the storms.

Click here to see the lists of names that are used to name tropical storms and hurricanes.