Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Dorian… Wondering where all these names come from? Here’s how hurricanes get their names, as well as the list of hurricane names for the 2019 season.
2019 Hurricane Season
The lists include storms in both the Atlantic Basin (Gulf and East Coast hurricanes) and Eastern North-Pacific (Pacific Island and West Coast hurricanes).
Hurricane season officially starts on June 1 and ends on November 30. See this year’s Hurricane Season Forecast and Updates here.
Hurricane Names for 2019
Atlantic Tropical (and Subtropical) Storm Names for 2019
Eastern North-Pacific Tropical (and Subtropical) Storm Names for 2019
Note: Hurricanes are given names according to a formal system that is managed by the World Meteorological Organization, not The Old Farmer’s Almanac! We appreciate your requests, however, we have no influence over the names selected.
How do Hurricanes Get Their Names?
- 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.
- Each list contains unique names, which are assigned to storms in alphabetical order. 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, and so on).
- 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 Hurricane Names
- Native Americans called these 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.
Learn More About Hurricanes
For more information on hurricanes, see:
- How to Measure a Hurricane: The Saffir-Simpson Scale
- Hurricane Season Forecast
- How to Survive a Hurricane: Safety Tips
Also check out our series on some of the worst hurricanes to ever hit the US: The Worst Hurricanes in US History (Part I)