The practice of giving female names to tropical storms dates back at least to the Second World War. The phonetic alphabet was used to describe tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early Fifties, and the US Weather Service chose to return to the use of female names in 1953. This continued to be the custom until the World Meteorological Organisation decided in 1979 that cyclones and hurricanes all over the world should bear a male or female name in turn.
For the rest of this year, the names for Atlantic hurricanes are: Danielle, Earl, Frances, Georges, Hermine, Ivan, Jeanne, Karl, Lisa, Mitch, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tomas, Virginie, Walter.
Hurricane Bill was a 1997 event, and Hurricane Tony will not take place till 2000. In Australia in the early 1900s, the names of political leaders were commonly given to cyclones; perhaps the time has come to revive this practice?
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