Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Storm Naming Convention for Tornadoes, Cyclones and Monsoons

Why are typhoons, tornados, cyclones and monsoons given feminine names and not masculine names?

The practice of naming hurricanes solely after women came to an end in 1978 when men's and women's names were included in the Eastern North Pacific storm lists. In 1979, male and female names were included in lists for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. 

Tropical storms and hurricanes are given names to avoid confusion when more than one storm is being followed at the same time. A storm is named when it reaches tropical storm strength with winds of 39 mph. A storm becomes a hurricane when its wind speed reaches 75 mph.

American weather agencies began assigning girls' names to major tropical storms in 1953. Apparently they got the idea from military forecasters.

Later the assigning of names for Atlantic hurricanes was turned over to the World Meteorological Organization, a UN agency, theoretically making it an international responsibility. (Naming of hurricanes in the eastern Pacific is handled through a bilateral agreement with Mexico.)

Clement Wragge, an Australian meteorologist began giving women's names to tropical storms before the end of the l9th century.

In 1953, the United States abandoned as confusing a two-year old plan to name storms by a phonetic alphabet (Able, Baker, Charlie) when a new, international phonetic alphabet was introduced. That year, this Nation's weather services began using female names for storms.

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