Thursday, September 1, 2011

Naming Hurricanes

I have always wondered why hurricanes are given names and seeing that the last hurricane was given ironically the name Irene, which in Greek means Peace, made me research this topic. The first hurricanes to receive human names where in the Caribbean two centuries ago. There they used to give the name of the Saint who was venerated the day it was formed. 

Since 1953 the hurricanes were 'baptised'  according to a list formed by the National Hurricane Centre in the U.S.A. The names were small in order to be remembered. The name basis was simpler than using coordinations and areas the hurricanes actually hit. 
This list constituted of female names until 1979 when male names were introduced. Currently there are six lists of names and when a catastrophic hurricane occurs the name given to that is then replaced by a new one. For example in 2004 Mitch was replaced by Matthew due to the fact that in 1998 it killed nearly 10.000 people in Honduras.    

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