MIAMI, FL — In the U.S., tropical storms and hurricanes are the only kinds of storms that get a name. And these are the names you’ll hear now that the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season is underway. (It runs from June through November.)
Hurricanes weren’t always named.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the latitude and longitude of a storm’s position used to determine the name of a hurricane. Although the name was very accurate — a storm found at 28°08’55.7″N 67°56’47.0″W would be called 28°08’55.7″N 67°56’47.0″W — it was also very forgettable.
Then, the World Meteorological Organization tried using names, in part because “naming storms made it easier for the media to report.”
Today. tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Oceans are named using an alphabetical list that rotates on a six-year cycle. It alternates between male and female names.
But sometimes storm names are retired if the storms were so deadly or destructive “that the future use of the name would be insensitive,” says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
For the past five years, a winter hurricane and a series of tropical storms have formed before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Subtropical Storm Andrea continued that trend in May.