Published: 2007-11-24 11:32:18
Updated: 2007-11-24 11:32:18
Posted November 24, 2007
MIKE MOSS SAYS: Jackie, The World Meteorological Organization maintains committees for each of the basins where tropical cyclones occur, and one of the duties of those committees is to maintain lists of names for the storms that occur in their area. In the case of Atlantic basin storms, the committee maintains a list of names covering a six year period, and at the end of the six years the lists are re-used. The only time a name is removed and replaced by a new one is if a storm caused such extensive damage or loss of life as to render its future use insensitive to victims or their relatives.
As far as changes to the naming systems go, the main changes were the adoption of formal names in the first place, back in 1950, when storms were named using the military phonetic alphabet of the time (Able, Baker, Charlie, etc). In 1953, this was changed to the use of female names instead, and then in 1979 the lists were changed again to alternate between male and female names. In addition, over time there have come to be more latin or hispanic names on the list, in acknowledgement of the impacts many storms have on the Carribean Islands, Mexico and Central America.
You can see the list of names for the Atlantic basin as well as all others worldwide, at
That page also includes links to a pronunciation guide and to a list of storm names that have been retired over the years.