Ask Storm Team 11: Why are tropical storms given names?

Weather

Friday’s Ask Storm Team 11 question: “Why are tropical storms given names?” 

Once a tropical storm forms with winds of at least 39 mph, it gets a name. That makes it easier for record-keeping and communication, especially when you have more than one at the same time. 

Before the early 1950s, tropical storms and hurricanes were often referred to based on the location or time of year.

In 1953, female names started being consistently used to name storms in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean. In 1979, male and female names started being used.   

Names are selected by the World Meteorological Organization. There are six lists recycled so the same names get used every six years. The only way names get replaced is if the storm causes a lot of damage and/or huge loss of life. Then, it’s retired.

Thanks Michael Abelseth!

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