Good Question: Who Names Hurricanes?

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Hurricanes are given names to eliminate confusion and help meteorologists track the storms as they move across the ocean.

The names are decided on, depending on the regions, either by committees of the World Meteorological Organization, or by National Weather Offices.

There are six lists in rotation. Each list is alphabetical, with the exception of Q, U and Z. There are 126 names already in rotation for the next six years. A new list starts over at A at the beginning of each hurricane season.

The same lists are reused every six years. The names of this year's crop of hurricanes - Edouard, Fay, Gustav - was used in 2002. The only time a new name is added is if a hurricane is very deadly or costly.

When this happens, the name is retired and a new name is chosen. Katrina, Hugo and Andrew are some of the notable names that will never be used again.

In 1953, the U.S. National Weather Service began using female names for storms. In 1979, men's names were added to the mix.

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