Hurricane Names for the 2020 Hurricane Season

How Are Hurricanes Named? Who Names Them?

August 3, 2020
Hurricane Florence Sept 2018

Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station on Wednesday, September 12, 2018.

NASA

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is in full swing. See the list of hurricane names for this year—plus, learn how hurricanes are named and see the history behind naming storms. Is your name or the name of a loved one listed this year?

Hurricane Forecast: The 2020 Hurricane season was predicted in June to be more active than usual. By early August, we were on our ninth named storm: Isaías. See the full 2020 Hurricane Forecast.

    Hurricane Names for the 2020 Hurricane Season

    Hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30 each year. See the most recent Hurricane Season Forecast (August 5, 2020).

    For the 2020 hurricane season, the list of names from 2014 will be used again, so don’t be surprised if some sound familiar. Those that are not retired from the list this year will be used again in the 2026 season. 

    These lists include storms in both the Atlantic Basin (Gulf and East Coast hurricanes) and Eastern North-Pacific (Pacific Island and West Coast hurricanes). 

    Hurricane Names for 2020

    Atlantic Tropical (and Subtropical) Storm Names for 2020

    Arthur Hanna Omar
    Bertha Isaías Paulette
    Cristobal Josephine Rene
    Dolly Kyle Sally
    Edouard Laura Teddy
    Fay Marco Vicky
    Gonzalo Nana Wilfred

    Eastern North-Pacific Tropical (and Subtropical) Storm Names for 2020

    Amanda Iselle Rachel
    Boris Julio Simon
    Cristina Karina Trudy
    Douglas Lowell Vance
    Elida Marie Winnie
    Fausto Norbert Xavier
    Genevieve Odalys Yolanda
    Hernan Polo Zeke

    How Are Hurricanes Named?

    Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina… The names of hurricanes often carry a lot of history, but how are they named?

    • The lists of hurricane names are chosen by the World Meteorological Organization (not The Old Farmer’s Almanac). There are six lists of names for Atlantic and Pacific storms. Every six years, the lists of names repeat (not including the names of particularly destructive storms, which are retired).
    • Names are assigned to storms in alphabetical order as the storms occur. In other words, the first storm of the season will be given the first name on the list (starting with the letter A), the next will be given the name starting with B, and so on. If more storms occur in one season than there are names on the list, the newest storms are named after the Greek alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.).
    • Tropical storms are given names when they display a rotating circulation pattern and wind speeds of 39 miles per hour (63 kilometers per hour). A tropical storm develops into a hurricane when wind speeds reach 74 mph (119 kph).
    • The names of especially destructive hurricanes are usually retired. See a list of retired tropical storm and hurricane names here.

    The History of Naming Hurricanes

    • Native Americans called these destructive storms hurakons, after “a great spirit who commanded the east wind.” Spanish explorers adopted the word and then began giving hurricanes the names of patron saints on whose feast days the storms occurred. Later, hurricanes were identified by their longitude and latitude.
    • In 1950, a formal practice for storm naming was first developed by the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, storms were named according to a phonetic alphabet (e.g., Able, Baker, Charlie) and the names used were the same for each hurricane season; in other words, the first hurricane of a season was always named “Able,” the second “Baker,” and so on.
    • In 1953, to avoid the repetitive use of names, the system was revised so that storms would be given female names. This mimicked the habits of old naval meteorologists, who named the storms after their wife or girlfriend, much the way ships at sea were named after women. A weatherman in Australia is credited with being the first person to give a tropical storm a female name.
    • In 1979, the system was revised again to include both female and male names.

    Today, naming hurricanes is the responsibility of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which revises the lists each year. However, the WMO doesn’t only name hurricanes that occur off the shores of North America; they maintain lists for all areas affected by tropical cyclones. See hurricane names for other regions here.

    Learn More About Hurricanes

    For more information on hurricanes, see:

    Also check out our series on some of the worst hurricanes to ever hit the US: The Worst Hurricanes in US History (Part I)

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    Reader Comments

    Leave a Comment

    Hurricane Names

    I doubt I will ever hear a Hurricane named Denise, but whew knows maybe next year.

    Origin of Hurricane Isaias

    I learned today that Isaias is Latin. But for what or whom? Lots of people think it should read Isaiah. Is there a Latin word for the Hebrew name of Isaiah? Inquiring minds need to know. Never studied Latin. Just 2 yrs of French n high school & Spanish in elementary school.

    Some hurricane names

    Olivia, Caesar, Domino, Fred, Maxine, Terry, Tricia.
    And why are there more names for Pacific hurricanes if most hurricanes are Atlantic?

    Hurricane Names

    who does name the hurricanes? whoever it is does a terrible job. How do you pronounce ISAIAS???????? and I agree is it such a hard, complicated job that instead of a new list every year, we just recirculate one of six lists? sound just plain lazy to me.
    and why do pacific hurricanes have a "Z" name but the atlantic does not

    Hurricane names

    I think we should stop giving them Proper People names and switch to flowers or animals or even insects. “We ask that everyone evacuate the area as Hurricane Black Widow comes ashore~NWS”... it could perhaps help hammer home the severity. Unless, of course a cat 5 storm named “Ladybug” is headed our way. My point: Sometimes it’s hard to be scared of a storm which shares the name of a person you know that wouldn’t hurt a soul, much less destroy an entire region.

    Hurricane neefs a name

    Jedediah

    PEOPLE REQUESTING HURRICANE NAMES

    Unfortunately, there are 6 lists of names that they use in a rotation. Those will be the names always unless they retire a name due to it being a destructive storm.
    I think it's absurd that they can't make a new list every year! Some of those names are very unfortunate!

    Naming hurricanes

    Why? What is the reason for repeating hurricane names every 6 years? There are millions of names & much better names than on those 6 lists. Those of us that live in hurricane zones don't need to hear the same names over and over. We want to forget them...not keep hearing reminders of the past! PICK NEW NAMES EVERY YEAR... not that hard!

    Katrina was a Monster

    I realize that Farmer's Almanac has NOTHING to do with the storms being named. That being said, I noticed the upcoming names for the 2020 season includes KATRINA. Is the World Meteorological Association actually so insensitive as to name ANOTHER hurricane after the Mon-stress that destroyed the Gulf region? The name Katrina should be retired GLOBALLY...PERIOD!

    Hurricane Katrina

    The Editors's picture

    Note that the name listed for 2020 is actually Karina! “Katrina” has indeed been retired. 

    hurricane

    Can you name a hurricane Ammon

    Naming a Hurricane

    Can you name one Hurricane Shnu? (say SM-uoo)

    Storm

    Hi, I will love to have a hurricane or any kind of storm name after me.

    Sincerely
    Yamel

    Hurricane Zelda haha

    Will Zelda come save us during hurricane Zelda. Lol.

    Hurricane Naming:

    How about naming a hurricane:
    MARCHA..
    It's a typographical error on my birth certificate.
    Thankyou

    Name storms

    Good names for storms .and hurricanes craig . nikita .tyler . corrie .Jonathan

    Hurricane Walaka's Name

    What is the origin of this name? I guess the Central Northern Pacific has its own list of names? I would think we would be on letter "A" not "W". Thank you.

    Hurricane Walaka

    The Editors's picture

    Correct! Different parts of the Pacific have their own lists. Here’s more information from NOAAhttp://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/pages/names.php#central 

    As far as the name “Walaka” goes, it seems to be of Hawaiian origin.

    please name hurricanes after

    please name hurricanes after these people. Shannan, kevin, carlin, tynazha, mycah. Thank you

    Hurricane name

    My daughter Telfea has a rare name. A Hurricane with her name will not be forgotten.

    latin alphabet

    You say there are 26 names , each after a letter in the Latin alphabet (which may I add only had 23 letters lol) … but these lists show 24 names and 21 names for the Eastern North Pacific and Atlantic Tropical storms respectively... may you indulge me with the reasoning as to why neither of these lists have 26 names... I am so confused right now...
    And question #2:
    If the season doesn't have all the storms, do they start off at the beginning of the list the next season or continue on where they left off the previous season .

    thanks!

    Alphabet

    The Editors's picture

    Sorry, we misspoke! Neither list has 26 names: The Atlantic lists have a name for every letter except Q, U, X, Y, and Z, while the Pacific lists have a name for every letter except U. Because the World Meteorological Organization makes the lists, we can only imagine that they exclude these letters due to the lack of unique names. (In fact, only two names are used for Y and Z, alternating every other year.)

    By “Latin alphabet” we mean the modern “Latin” or “Roman” alphabet used for English.

    If a storm occurs outside of hurricane season, its name is determined by the calendar year it occurred in: If the storm occurs in December, it will be named from the previous season’s list. If it occurs in January or later, it will be named from the upcoming season’s list.

    Gordon vs Florence

    If my memory is correct, we had Hurricane Gordon a few weeks ago. Why did “G” come before “F”?

    Why hurricane "G" Gordon before "F" Florence??

    The Editors's picture

    That’s a great question. According to NOAA, Florence was named on September 2nd and Gordon on September 3rd. This probably means that Florence was just a storm and developed more slowly than Gordon, so “he” got the attention first. Hope that helps!

    Hurricane Names

    Has a Hurricane ever been named Laura, Lori or Lora?

    Laura

    The Editors's picture

    Yes! Laura was the name of a tropical storm in 1971 and also in 2008. The World Meteorological Organization has six lists of storm names which are recycled every six years, and Laura is on that list every six years!

    Hurricane names (historical)

    Has the name Jill ever been used for a hurricane?

    Hurricane names: Jill?

    The Editors's picture

    Jill was on the list in 1953, 1954, and 1976.  However, the hurricane season never made it to “J” so it was never used.

    Today, as mentioned above, hurricane names are selected by the World Meteorological Organization. There are six lists of names for Atlantic and Pacific storms. Every six years, the lists of names repeat. Jill is not on this repeating list.

    The only possibility of Jill being used again is if a female “J” name is retired. Hurricane names are retired from the list if the hurricane is especially destructive/deadly. See the list of retired hurricane names here: https://www.almanac.com/content/retired-atlantic-hurricane-names

    Hurricane names

    Rhea, Hallie, Brontë, Damon, Corban, Constance ❤️ Penelope

    Missing Names

    Why are there no names on the Atlantic list starting with Q, U, X, Y, or Z? Some of these are included in the Pacific list. I remember that in 2005 there were so many storms that they ran out of names, but I have forgotten what they did to make up for the shortfall.

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