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A Look at How Hurricanes Are Named


Have you ever wondered who came up with the name Hurricane Andrew? Or who decided to name a storm Hurricane Katrina? The naming of hurricanes is a relatively recent practice, but there is a definite method to the madness.

According to an interesting article published by WFTV 9, all storms are given a name as soon as they become a tropical storm, which is defined as having sustained wind speeds of at least 39 miles per hour. If the storm then develops into a hurricane, it keeps the same name.

Practice Started in 1959

Before 1959, hurricanes were named for the holiday in which they landed or for the region where the hurricane struck. This is why the devastating hurricane in 1935 is called the Labor Day Hurricane, because it swept past the Florida Keys on Monday, September 2, 1935, which was Labor Day. Other hurricanes from this era were named by their location, such as the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane, which hammered Lake Okeechobee in Florida.

In 1959, the National Hurricane Center started to assign storms a female name. By 1979, male names were used as well. The National Hurricane Center in the U.S. is responsible for giving names to storms in the northern Atlantic Basin. But in other parts of the world, different organizations will assign names. For example, the Japan Meteorological Agency gives names for storms in the Western Pacific Ocean, and the Brazilian Navy Hydrographic Center names storms that spin out over the southern Atlantic basin, from the equator to the Brazilian coast.

Names are not simply drawn out of a hat. Instead, the National Hurricane Center keeps six lists of names which are used in rotation. For 2020, the names will be Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, and Gonzalo, among others.

Retiring a Name

To avoid confusion, organizations will retire names if the storm they are associated with was severe. For example, Andrew will not be used again, since that storm (like Katrina) caused tremendous damage.

Since the name process was started, a total of 89 names have been retired. Not every season results in a name retirement, because some seasons have no significant storms.

The World Meteorological Organization convenes every year to determine whether a storm name will be retired. Unfortunately, the COVID 19 pandemic prevented the organization from meeting in 2020, so “Dorian” has not yet been retired even though it devastated islands in the Caribbean. It will likely be retired when the organization convenes sometime in 2021.

We Can Help with Hurricane Disaster Claims

If your home suffers damage in a storm this year, you might need legal help to get an insurer to pay out on a policy. Unfortunately, many insurers try to avoid any responsibility to their insureds after a serious storm.

At Bundza & Rodrigues, P.A., we can help you appeal or negotiate a favorable settlement to your dispute. Please contact our law firm today. One of our Daytona Beach hurricane insurance claims lawyers will review your situation and offer targeted advice. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.


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