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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Question of the Day: Hurricane Names

Question of the Day: Hurricane Names

Hurricane Floyd - 1999 (Image courtesy National Hurricane Center)


July 7, 2008


Question of the Day:

How are hurricanes named and what names will be used during 2010?

Women's names were first used to name tropical storms and hurricanes during World War II, with some variations in practices in the early 1950s. In 1953, the US Weather Bureau began using a standardized list of female names in naming Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes. The practice of using female names exclusively ended in 1979 when both male and female names were included in lists for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico hurricane lists.

The name lists are agreed upon at international meetings of the World Meteorological Organization. The names alternate between male and female names, and have an international flavor because hurricanes affect other nations and are tracked by many countries.

There are currently six lists of names used in naming hurricanes; a different list is used each year. The lists are repeated in 6- year cycles. However, names associated with storms that have caused significant death and/or damage are usually retired from the list and a replacement name is selected by the World Meteorological Organization.

The names to be used for the 2010 hurricane season are:
Alex Bonnie Colin Daniel
Earl Fiona Gaston Hermine
Igor Julia Karl Lisa
Matthew Nicole Otto Paula
Richard Shary Tomas Virginie

Note that the letters q, u, x, y, and z are not used in the list due to the scarcity of names beginning with those letters.

For additional information about hurricanes and hurricane safety, visit the National Hurricane Center's web site at:



Beth Barton or Lynette Miller


Last update: 07/20/10