Tropical storm systems get a name when the surface winds reach 39 mph.  This would make it a Tropical Storm. When better organized and the winds increase to 74 mph, the it becomes a Hurricane. It other parts of the world these can be called typhoons (Asian Pacific), cylones (South Pacific and Indian Ocean).

In a normal year, the hurricane season in the Atlantic would be between June 1 and November 30. The peak activity normal occurs in the second week of September when tropical ocean waters are at their warmest.

Tropical Storm Tracking History

For the Atlantic, there are extensive records dating back to 1851 thanks to ship records. But it is not perfect. The satellite era dramatically improved upon the awareness of storms in the open water. The Pacific Ocean database is less extensive, beginning in 1949.

Tropical Storm Hurricane History


Naming Tropical Storms

A few hundred years ago residents of the Caribbean Islands named storms that hit based on the Roman Catholic Saint of the day.  In early US meteorology they were named for the latitude and longitude where they were first identified, but this was more complicated than it was worth.

World War II

Meteorologists in the Pacific used women’s names. There is still some debate as to where this was endearing Navy officers honoring their wives and girlfriends, or a tribute to ex girlfriends (for real).


The naming system was officially adopted by the National Hurricane Center. Names were given in alphabetic order.


Mens names were introduced in the Pacific storm list.


Mens names were included in the Atlantic storm list. Originally the male and names were alternated.On even years they began with mens names and odd years began with women’s names.

For each year, 21 names were given on the list, excluding Q, U, X, Y, and Z.  If more occurred, then the Greek Alphabet was used as in the record year 2005.

World Meteorological Organization

This international body organizes the list of names for each ocean basin. Lists for 6 years are in place, and then repeats.


2020 Names For The Atlantic Basin

Names for 2021 to 2025 are below

Names and Pronounciations

  1. Arthur  AR-thur
  2. Bertha  BUR-thuh
  3. Cristobal  krees-TOH-bahl
  4. Dolly  DAH-lee
  5. Edouard  eh-DWARD
  6. Fay  fay
  7. Gonzalo  gohn- SAH-loh
  8. Hanna  HAN-uh
  9. Isaias ees-ah-EE-ahs
  10. Josephine  JOH-seh-feen
  11. Kyle  KY-ull
  12. Laura  LOOR-ruh
  13. Marco  MAR-koe
  14. Nana  NA-na
  15. Omar  OH-mar
  16. Paulette  pawl-LET
  17. Rene  re-NAY
  18. Sally  SAL-ee
  19. Teddy  TEHD-ee
  20. Vicky  VIH-kee
  21. Wilfred  WILL-fred


Retiring A Name

When a storm makes landfall then causes extensive damage and casualties, the name may get retired. A new one will be put in its place for then ext time that list is used six years later.

Satellite Video Of Katrina

Katrina was one well known example of a retired storm. Check out the full satellite loop


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