Why are hurricanes only named after women?
These names have to meet various requirements: On the one hand, they have to be "very easy to remember", as Oliver explains, and on the other hand they have to be in alphabetical order, of course. And, equally important, there has to be a balance between male and female first names. Names that begin with q, u, x, y or z are also out of the question because they are too rare. According to the WMO, there are currently six lists of 21 potential names, each of which is used every six years.
Naming works differently in Asia, for example. According to Oliver, not only personal first names come into question, but all sorts of names such as flowers or objects. Japan makes it even easier and simply counts its storms chronologically, starting anew every year.
"Alice" made the start
For several hundred years, destructive cyclones were named after the saints on whose name day they struck.
For example, on July 26, 1825, Hurricane Santa Ana hit Puerto Rico. Towards the end of the 19th century, according to the National Weather Service, the Australian meteorologist Clement Wragge began giving tropical storms female first names.
In the Second World War, the naming was finally more widespread, especially among meteorologists of the Air Force and the Navy, who followed the path of the storms over the Pacific.
Equal rights from the end of the 70s
Between 1950 and 1952, the storms in the United States were named after a phonetic alphabet, starting with "Able", "Baker" and "Charlie". However, because the same names were repeated every year, this system caused confusion, and in 1953 the National Hurricane Center established the first list of female first names.
"Alice" was the name of the first tropical storm with a personal name. In order to ensure justice and not only name the storms after women, male first names were introduced for storms over the Pacific in 1978, and a year later there was also the first male Atlantic storm, "Bob".
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