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The fascinating and controversial history behind hurricane names

August 1, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

If you've ever wondered how tropical systems get their names you are not alone: While the answer to why a hurricane is given a certain name is rather simple, the history behind the naming of storms is far from it.

From Sally and Fred on to Gaston and Humberto, the names designated for the Atlantic hurricane seasons of the years 2020 to 2025 range from the familiar to those which may be less common.

If you've ever wondered how tropical systems get their names you are not alone: While the answer to why a hurricane is given a certain name is rather simple, the history behind the naming of storms is far from it.

Hurricanes were commonly named for the Saint's Day on which they occurred.

Navy and Air Force meteorologists began naming tropical systems after girlfriends and wives as an easy method to keep track of multiple storms.

The names of men were introduced to the list for Atlantic Ocean storms, in alphabetical order, excluding names starting with the letters Q,U, X, Y or Z.

In the event that a season is exceptionally busy and there are more than 21 named storms in a season the Greek alphabet will be used.

Fast forward to present day and the reason we have names such as Gaston, Humberto and Fred is because these French, Spanish and English names represent the languages most commonly used across the Atlantic Basin.

Names are now chosen by the World Meteorological Organization, and separate naming systems are used for different ocean regions.

Similar to Atlantic names, names in other basins reflect the languages spoken in the region.

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