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Hurricane Activities
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Hurricane

Weather Theme Page for K-3
Introduction to Hurricanes How Hurricanes Form Naming Hurricanes Hurricane Structure Hurricane Classification Tracking Hurricanes Preparing for a Hurricane Landfall, Storm Surges Hurricane Activities Hurricane Glossary

Naming Tropical Storms and Hurricanes


Name lists for Atlantic tropical storms
Since a hurricane can last for a week or more, and there can be more than one storm at a time, weather forecasters give each storm a name so there is no confusion when talking about a particular storm. Each year, the first tropical storm of the season is given a name that starts with A, the second storm is given a name that starts with a B, and so on (the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z are not used becasue there are few common names starting with these letters). Women's and men's names are alternated. The name lists are made up by meteorologists at the World Meteorological Organization.

In the active hurricane season of 2005, Greek letters began to be used to name tropical storms after the letters of the alphabet had been used.

There are different name lists for Atlantic and eastern Pacific tropical storms. Storms are named as soon as the winds are 39 mph or more. The names of very destructive storms (like Andrew (1992), Camille (1969), Hugo (1989), and Katrina (2005)) are retired and will never be used again.

The History of Naming Tropical Storms
Until late in the 1940s, hurricanes were not officially named (hurricane forecasting was then in its infancy). Only the most severe hurricanes were given names, and they were often named for the place they did the most damage (such as the Galveston Hurricane of 1900) or the time they hit (such as the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935).

US meteorologists working in the Pacific Ocean began naming tropical cyclones during World War 2, when they often had to track multiple storms. They gave each storm a name in order to distinguish the cyclones from each other more quickly than referring to each storm by its position.

The first US named hurricane (unofficially named) was George, which hit in 1947. The next one given a name was Hurricane Bess (named for the First Lady of the USA, Bess Truman, in 1949). Various naming conventions were used until the use of women's names was adopted in 1953; the names used that year were: Alice, Barbara, Carol, Dolly, Edna, Florence, Gilda, Hazel, Irene, Jill, Katherine, Lucy, Mabel, Norma, Orpha, Patsy, Queen, Rachel, Susie, Tina, Una, Vicky, and Wallis.

Between 1953 and 1979, only women's names were used to name tropical storms. Since 1979, men's and women's names are alternated as names.

Hurricanes
Introduction to Hurricanes How Hurricanes Form Naming Hurricanes Hurricane Structure Hurricane Classification Tracking Hurricanes Preparing for a Hurricane Landfall, Storm Surges Hurricane Activities Hurricane Glossary


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