Hurricanes: why do they have women’s names and how are they chosen?

Many years ago, hurricanes used to be referred to as the saints of the age. However, since the end of the 19th century, these have been replaced by proper names, specifically, of women. For example, the most current case: Hurricane Julia. Why did this happen? Who determines the names of hurricanes? HERE the explanation.

Because hurricanes can last for more than a week, several cyclones can coexist at the same time. Thus, to prevent confusions meteorologists assign them names.

The entity in charge of naming hurricanes is the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) specialized agency of the United Nations that was created in 1950 with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to the official website of the entity, the WMO has several functions, among them, that of dedicating itself to international cooperation and coordination regarding the state and behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as the weather and the climate it generates.

The current process is practical and orderly. Firstly, the names are decided by a committee of the World Meteorological Organization who maintain rotating lists of names for each tropical cyclone basin, which have six years to use.

It should be noted that the names can be reused as long as they did not previously identify a violent storm. Find out HERE what will be used for the next 5 years.

If you think that the hurricane is named after a particular person, you are wrong.

In general, tropical cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons bear names that are familiar to the people of each region so that they are easy to remember.

In this way, people will take the necessary precautions to reduce or avoid disasters.

Before administering the system that is currently followed to name hurricanes, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, tropical storms in the Antilles they were called with the name of the saint of the day in which they occurred. Among the best known examples we have the “Santa Ana” that devastated Puerto Rico in 1825, as well as the “San Felipe” that hit Spain in 1928.

The denomination of hurricanes changed at the end of the 19th century, when the Australian meteorologist, Clement Wragge, first used a proper name to name these meteorological phenomena.

It all started with Clement Wragge. In fact, after having used names from Greek mythology and politicians that were not to his liking, he was inclined to call hurricanes with names of women a practice that the United States would make official in 1953.

Finally, with the campaigns of the feminist Roxcy Bolton and other activists, US authorities were persuaded to use male names again in 1979.

This is quite a common question and the explanation is quite amazing. According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of Natural Academy of Science in 2014, and carried out by scientists from the University of Illinois, it was concluded that hurricanes named after women tend to have a higher number of victims.

The reason is because the population did not give them due importance therefore, protective measures were reduced. Given this, the National Hurricane Center stressed that citizens should pay attention to these weather events, whether you are called “Sam” or “Samantha.”

The hurricane Fiona that arrived in Puerto Rico on September 18, led the Government to declare a state of Major Disaster, as it caused flooding and left 1.4 million people without power.

On the other hand, recently, tropical storm Julia It was classified as a category 1 hurricane, for which the Government of Colombia recommended that the inhabitants of the islands of San Andrés and Providencia take shelter and heed the indications of local entities and emergency agencies.