Here's how hurricanes are named — and how to see if you'll share a name with one

Names work on a six-year cycle, but are retired if the hurricanes are "partiularly deadly or costly"

Jacob Shamsian
Saturday 09 September 2017 09:49
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Hurricane names work on a six-year rotation
Hurricane names work on a six-year rotation

Hurricane Harvey passed through Houston, causing devastation in its wake. Now Hurricane Irma is headed for Miami. It's awkward news for people with those names.

If you've wondered if a hurricane will ever share your name, there's an easy way to check. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) keeps a list of names it uses. There are different names for each region of the world, and each region has six rotating lists.

That means that "Irma" and "Harvey" can show up as hurricane names in 2023. But that's unlikely. The WMO retires the names of cyclones that are "particularly deadly or costly."

Here are the names that are designated for the "Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic" region — for storms that affect the US.

Hurricanes, the WMO notes, aren't named after particular people. They're selected because they're familiar to people in different regions. That way, they're easy to remember and recognize for hurricane awareness and preparation.

Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic Names (the 2017 list will be used again in 2023):

2017

Arlene

Bret​

Cindy

Don

Emily

Franklin

Gert

Harvey

Irma

Jose

Katia

Lee

Maria

Nate

Ophelia

Philippe

Rina

Sean

Tammy

Vince

Whitney

2018

Alberto

Beryl

Chris

Debby

Ernesto

Florence

Gordon

Helene

Isaac

Joyce

Kirk

Leslie

Michael

Nadine

Oscar

Patty

Rafael

Sara

Tony

Valerie

William

2019

Andrea

Barry

Chantal

Dorian​

Erin

Fernand

Gabrielle

Humberto

Imelda

Jerry

Karen

Lorenzo

Melissa

Nestor

Olga

Pablo

Rebekah

Sebastien

Tanya

Van

Wendy

2020

Arthur

Bertha

Cristobal

Dolly

Edouard

Fay

Gonzalo

Hanna

Isaias

Josephine

Kyle

Laura

Marco

Nana

Omar

Paulette

Rene

Sally

Teddy

Vicky

Wilfred

2021

Ana

Bill

Claudette

Danny

Elsa

Fred

Grace

Henri

Ida

Julian

Kate

Larry

Mindy

Nicholas

Odette

Peter

Rose

Sam

Teresa

Victor

Wanda

2022

Alex

Bonnie

Colin

Danielle

Earl

Fiona

Gaston

Hermine

Ian

Julia

Karl

Lisa

Martin

Nicole

Owen

Paula

Richard

Shary

Tobias

Virginie

Walter

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