How Hurricanes Get Their Names

The history of naming hurricanes.

Hurricane names are chosen from a list selected by the World Meteorological Organization. There are six separate lists of names for Atlantic Ocean storms, with one list used each year.

In 1953, the National Weather Service picked up on the habit of Naval meteorologists of naming the storms after women. Ships were commonly referred to as female, and were often given women's names.

In 1979, male names were added to alternate with the female names.

The six lists used for storms in the Atlantic rotate annually. The list of this year's names will not be reused until 2019. The names get recycled each time the list comes up, with one exception: storms so devastating that reusing the name is inappropriate. In this case, the name is taken off the list and another name is used to replace it.