Geography Quiz #10

How are hurricanes named?

Hurricane Bob, Lewis Bay, Cape Cod Mass
Hurricane Bob, Lewis Bay, Cape Cod Mass

When wind speeds reach 39 mph the storm is considered a tropical storm and it’s given its very own name. When wind speeds reach 74 mph that same named storm is then categorized as a hurricane. But how do those names get chosen and why? Naming tropical storms makes it easier for meteorologists, responders and individuals because there are often multiple tropical storms at the same time.

Naming storms became official in 1953 using women’s names then in 1978 the list was revised to included alternating men’s names. The World Meteorological Organization develops the alternating list alphabetically from A to W. When there are more storms than we have names for the Greek alphabet is used: alpha, beta, etc. There are separate lists for different oceanic regions.  Once a name is used it cannot be used again for six years except in the case of retired names. A name is retired when the storm creates so much death and destruction that to reuse the name would be insensitive to victims.

Sign warning Charley away, Key West Florida
Sign warning Charley away, Key West Florida


2014 list of hurricane names for the Atlantic Ocean


Bertha Cristobal
















Teddy Vicky



Hurricane Charley, Port Charlotte, Florida


These are some retired hurricane names from my history


Year Category


Donna 1960 5 I was just a baby but I remember stories of being evacuated and our home flooded.
Camille 1969 5 While we weren’t hit directly the effects of flooding were tremendous
Agnes 1972 1 So how could a cat 1 be so bad that it was retired? Agnes caused the worst flooding in the eastern US and is still considered the worst disaster in Pennsylvania. Deaths may have been low but the destruction was massive. I was in this one – several times. After it hit Georgia he thought it would be a good idea to drive over a thousand miles back to Mass. Every night we stopped due to severe flooding and left the next morning and met up with Agnes later in the day. What was he thinking?
Gloria 1985 4 I was living in Texas but knew family and friends back east that were affected.
Hugo 1989 5 I was living in Indiana but had friends in the Carolinas that were affected.
Bob 1991 3 While I was in several hurricanes Bob was the only one to hit my home directly. By the time it reached Cape Cod it was a cat 2 and the lack of rain is the only reason the destruction wasn’t more severe. This was my first storm of such destruction and would not be my last
Andrew 1992 5 Andrew was the most famous and destructive until Katrina
Mitch 1998 5 Mitch was the most costly hurricane in my history with death reaching over 10,000 in Central America alone
Charley 2004 4 This was my last hurricane and by far the worst I’ve seen. The destruction was so bad where we were visiting in Port Charlotte that I decided I was done with hurricane chasing. We were still in Port Charlotte when Frances was announced – we left. I was done with hurricanes. And where do I live now? Florida. There have been no hurricanes since I moved here but I’ve heard this year may be different.
Frances 2004 4  
Ivan 2004 5  
Jean 2004 3  
Katrina 2005 5 The mother of all US hurricanes to hit in my lifetime with economic cost of over 100 billion dollars



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