by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
Given these events, I became curious about the origins of naming hurricanes so I did a little research. I think we can loosely toss this in with etymology to make it fit this blog.
It turns out that sailors had been naming hurricanes for quite some time in order to identify separate storms that might be occurring simultaneously. In 1953, the National Hurricane Center officially began assigning female names to hurricanes in the Atlantic. Later, this task was taken over by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and male names were added in 1979.
Names are chosen by committees through a stringent set of criteria, and each of the five hurricane regions pick names for the following six years. Great care is taken not to follow an alphabetic sequence or use a name associated with a well-known person. Occasionally, a very deadly or destructive hurricane’s name, like Katrina, is retired.
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