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. They are usually assigned to tropical cyclones with one-, three- or ten-minute windspeeds of at least 65km/h (40mph). 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, and 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's 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 did not 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 was 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, but 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 pre-selected 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 pre-selected 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.
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.
In 1950 a tropical cyclone that affected Hawaii was named Able, after a tropical cyclone had not affected Hawaii for a number of years. The system was also named Salome by the Air Weather Service Office in Guam, before it became widely known as Hurricane Hiki, since Hiki is Hawaiian for Able. Typhoon Olive of 1952 developed within the Central Pacific, but was not named until it had crossed the International Dateline and moved into the Western Pacific basin. During 1957, three other tropical cyclones developed in the Central Pacific and were named Kanoa, Della and Nina, by the Hawaiian military meteorological offices. It was subsequently decided that future tropical cyclones, would be named by borrowing names from the Western Pacific naming lists. Hawaiian names were reinstated for the lists during 1979, with 5 sets of names drafted using only the 12letters of the Hawaiian alphabet, with the intent being to use the sets of names on an annual rotation basis. However, after no storms had developed in this region between 1979 and 1981, the annual lists were scrapped and replaced with four sets of names and designed to be used consecutively. Ahead of the 2007 hurricane season, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) introduced a revised set of Hawaiian names for the Central Pacific, after they had worked with the University of HawaiiHawaiian Studies Department to ensure the correct meaning and appropriate historical and cultural use of the names.
On January 1, 2000, the Japan Meteorological Agency, as the official Regional Specialized Meteorological Center, took over the naming of tropical cyclones in this basin. The names selected by the World Meteorological Organization's Typhoon Committee were from a pool of names submitted by the various countries that make up the Typhoon Committee.
Since 1963, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), have assigned their own names to typhoons that pass through its area of responsibility. Unlike the World Meteorological Organization's standard of assigning names to tropical cyclones when they reach wind-speeds of 65km/h (40mph), PAGASA assigns a name to a tropical depression when they either form or move into their area of responsibility. Four sets of tropical cyclone names are rotated annually with typhoon names stricken from the list should they do more than 1billionpesos worth of damage to the Philippines and/or cause 300 or more deaths. Should the list of names for a given year prove insufficient, names are taken from an auxiliary list.
During its annual session in 2000 the WMO/ESCAP Panel on North Indian tropical cyclones, agreed in principle to start assigning names to Cyclonic Storms that developed within the North Indian Ocean. As a result, the panel requested that each member country submit a list of ten names to a rapporteur by the end of the year 2000. At the 2001 session of the Panel, the rapporteur reported that seven of the eight countries had submitted their names. However, India had refused to submit a list of names, as it had some reservations about assigning names to tropical cyclones, due to the regional, cultural and linguistic diversity of the panel members. The panel subsequently studied the names and felt that some of the names would not be appealing to the public or the media, and requested that members submit new lists of names. At the following years session the rapporteur reported that there had been a poor response by member countries in resubmitting their lists of names. In response the panel felt that it was important that the work continued and urged the members to copperate and submit their names to the rapporteur. The names were subsequently submitted in time for the 2004 session, however, India had still not submitted their names, despite promising to do so. The rapporteur presented the 4 lists of names that would be used with a gap left for India's names and recommended that the India Meteorological Department's Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in New Delhi name the systems. The rapporteur also recommended that the naming lists were used on an experimental basis during the season, starting in May or June 2004 and that the lists should only be used until 2009 when a new list would be drawn up for the following ten years. The naming lists were then completed in May 2004, after India submitted their names, however the lists were not used until September 2004 when the first tropical cyclone was named Onil by India Meteorological Department.
In January 1960, a formal naming scheme was introduced for the South-West Indian Ocean between Africa and 80°E, by the Mauritius and Madagascan Weather Services with the first cyclone being named Alix. Over the next few years the names were selected in various ways including by the meteorological services of the region for several years at a time, before it was turned over to the WMO's South West Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone Committee at the start of the 2000-01 season.
Tropical Cyclones started to be named within the South Pacific, by the New Caledonia Meteorological Office during the 1958–59 season. The Fiji Office of the New Zealand Meteorological Service subsequently started to also name cyclones during the 1969–70 season with Alice being the first name to be used.
During March 2004, a rare tropical cyclone developed within the Southern Atlantic, about 1,010km (630mi) to the east-southeast of Florianópolis in southern Brazil. As the system was threatening the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, a newspaper used the headline "Furacão Catarina," which was presumed to mean "furacão (hurricane) threatening (Santa) Catarina (the state)". However, when the international press started monitoring the system, it was assumed that "Furacão Catarina" meant "Cyclone Catarina" and that it had been formally named in the usual way. During March 12, 2010, public and private weather services in Southern Brazil, decided to name a tropical storm Anita in order to avoid confusion in future references. A naming list was subsequently set up by the Brazilian Navy Hydrographic Center with the names Arani, Bapo, Cari, Deni, Eçaí, Guará, Iba, Jaguar and Kurumí subsequently taken from that list during 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Tropical cyclones and subtropical cyclones are named by various warning centers to provide ease of communication between forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts, watches, and warnings. The names are intended to reduce confusion in the event of concurrent storms in the same basin. Generally once storms produce sustained wind speeds of more than 33 knots, names are assigned in order from predetermined lists depending on which basin they originate. However, standards vary from basin to basin: some tropical depressions are named in the Western Pacific, while tropical cyclones must have a significant amount of gale-force winds occurring around the centre before they are named in the Southern Hemisphere.
The 2007–08 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was the third most active tropical cyclone season, along with the 1985–86 season and behind the 1993–94 season and the 2018–19 season, with twelve named tropical cyclones developing in the region. It began on November 15, 2007, and ended on April 30, 2008, with the exception for Mauritius and the Seychelles, which ended May 15. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the basin, which is west of 90°E and south of the Equator. Tropical cyclones in this basin are monitored by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Réunion.
The 2005–06 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was the fifth least-active on record. The Météo-France office on the island of Réunion tracked 13 tropical disturbances, of which six intensified into a moderate tropical storm. Three of these systems proceeded to attain tropical cyclone status – reaching 10 minute maximum sustained winds of at least 120 km/h (75 mph). The American-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center also tracked eight storms in the basin. Activity was below normal due to a powerful Walker circulation, which increased convection over the neighboring Australian basin, but suppressed activity in the western Indian Ocean. As a result, most of the storms developed near or entered from the Australian basin, crossing 90°E to enter the South-West Indian Ocean.
The 2004–05 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was a near average season, despite beginning unusually early on August 30 with the formation of an early-season tropical depression. Météo-France's meteorological office in Réunion (MFR) ultimately monitored 18 tropical disturbances during the season, of which 15 became tropical depressions. Two storms – Arola and Bento – formed in November, and the latter became the most intense November cyclone on record. Bento attained its peak intensity at a low latitude, and weakened before threatening land. Tropical Cyclone Chambo was the only named storm in December. In January, Severe Tropical Storm Daren and Cyclone Ernest existed simultaneously. The latter storm struck southern Madagascar, and five days later, Moderate Tropical Storm Felapi affected the same area; the two storms killed 78 people and left over 32,000 people homeless. At the end of January, Severe Tropical Storm Gerard existed as an unnamed tropical storm for 18 hours due to discrepancies between warning centers.
The 2001–02 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season had the earliest named storm since 1992. Many storms formed in the north-east portion of the basin, and several more originated around Australia. The basin is defined as the waters of the Indian Ocean west of longitude 90°E to the coast of Africa and south of the equator. Eleven tropical storms formed, compared to an average of nine. Tropical systems were present during 73 days, which was significantly higher than the average of 58 for this basin.
In the south-west Indian Ocean, tropical cyclones form south of the equator and west of 90° E to the coast of Africa.
The 2010–11 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was the least active cyclone season on record in the basin, tied with 1982–83, producing only four systems of gale intensity. This was due to cooler than normal water temperatures and the Walker circulation – a broad atmospheric circulation – causing unusually moist conditions in the eastern Indian Ocean and unusually dry conditions in the western Indian Ocean. The basin includes the waters of the ocean south of the equator and west of 90º E to the eastern coast of Africa.
The 1979–80 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was an above-average cyclone season. The season officially ran from November 1, 1979, to April 30, 1980.
The practice of using names to identify tropical cyclones goes back several centuries, with storms named after places, saints or things they hit before the formal start of naming in each basin. Examples of such names are the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane and the 1938 New England hurricane. The system currently in place provides identification of tropical cyclones in a brief form that is easily understood and recognized by the public. The credit for the first usage of personal names for weather systems is given to the Queensland Government Meteorologist Clement Wragge, who named tropical cyclones and anticyclones between 1887 and 1907. This system of naming fell into disuse for several years after Wragge retired, until it was revived in the latter part of World War II for the Western Pacific. Over the following decades formal naming schemes were introduced for several tropical cyclone basins, including the North and South Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Western and Southern Pacific basins as well as the Australian region and Indian Ocean.
The 2020–21 Australian region cyclone season is the period of the year when most tropical cyclones form in the Southern Indian Ocean and Pacific Oceans between 90°E and 160°E. The season will officially run from 1 November 2020 to 30 April 2021, however, a tropical cyclone could form at any time between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021 and would count towards the season total. During the season, tropical cyclones will be officially monitored, by one of the five Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs) that operate in this region. Three of the five centers are operated by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) in Perth, Darwin, and Brisbane, while the other two are operated by the National Weather Service of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby and the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics in Jakarta, Indonesia. The United States Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) and other national meteorological services including Météo-France will also monitor the basin during the season.
The 2016–17 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was a below-average season, with five tropical storms, three of which intensified into tropical cyclones. It officially began on November 15, 2016, and ended on April 30, 2017, with the exception for Mauritius and the Seychelles, for which it ended on May 15, 2017. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical and subtropical cyclones form in the basin, which is west of 90°E and south of the Equator. Tropical and subtropical cyclones in this basin were monitored by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Réunion, though the Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued unofficial advisories.
The 2018–19 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season was the costliest and the most active season ever recorded since reliable records began in 1967. Additionally, it is also the deadliest cyclone season recorded in the South-West Indian Ocean, surpassing the 1891–92 season, in which the 1892 Mauritius cyclone devastated the island of Mauritius. The season was an event of the annual cycle of tropical cyclone and subtropical cyclone formation in the South-West Indian Ocean basin. It officially began on November 15, 2018, and ended on April 30, 2019, with the exception for Mauritius and the Seychelles, which it ended on May 15, 2019. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical and subtropical cyclones form in the basin, which is west of 90°E and south of the Equator. Tropical and subtropical cyclones in this basin are monitored by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Réunion.
During 2015, tropical cyclones formed within seven different tropical cyclone basins, located within various parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. During the year, a total of 133 tropical cyclones had formed this year to date. 92 tropical cyclones had been named by either a Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) or a Tropical Cyclone Warning Center (TCWC).
The 2020–21 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season is a future event of the annual cycle of tropical cyclone and subtropical cyclone formation. It began on November 15, 2020, and will end on April 30, 2021, with the exception for Mauritius and the Seychelles, for which it will end on May 15, 2021. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical and subtropical cyclones form in the basin, which is west of 90°E and south of the Equator. Tropical and subtropical cyclones in this basin are monitored by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Réunion.
↑ Kohler, Joseph P, ed. (July 1960). "On The Editors Desk: Names for North Pacific Tropical Cyclones". Mariners Weather Log: MWL (Mariners Weather Log). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Oceanographic Data Service. 4 (4): 107. hdl:2027/uc1.b3876059. ISSN0025-3367. OCLC648466886.
↑ The Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research. National Hurricane Operations Plan 1980(PDF) (Report). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived(PDF) from the original on July 15, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
↑ 61st IHC action items(PDF) (Report). Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology. November 29, 2007. pp.5–7. Archived from the original(PDF) on June 13, 2004. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
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↑ WMO/ESCAP panel on tropical cyclones (April 15, 2004). Final Report(PDF). WMO/ESCAP panel on tropical cyclones thirty-second session. New Delhi, India: World Meteorological Organization, Economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific. p.8. Archived(PDF) from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
↑ Reunion Meteorological Service (1990). DeAngellis, Richard M (ed.). Southwest Indian Ocean Cyclone Season 1988/89 (Mariners Weather Log: Volume 34: Issue 2: Spring 1990). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. pp.54–55. hdl:2027/uiug.30112104094237. ISSN0025-3367. OCLC648466886.
↑ Reunion Meteorological Service (Winter 1992). DeAngellis, Richard M (ed.). Cyclones of the Southwest Indian Ocean 1990–1991. Mariners Weather Log (Report). 36. United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. pp.54–55. hdl:2027/uiug.30112104094146. ISSN0025-3367. OCLC648466886.