U.S. Hurricane Names Selected for 2024

Learn how hurricane names are chosen and retired.
Tropical cyclone formation zones
Tropical cyclone formation zones. Courtesy NHC

Hurricane season is upon us, officially beginning June 1,  and meteorologists across the U.S. and around the world are on standby to track 2024’s tropical cyclones. Here’s an overview of what tropical storm names are selected for 2024 and how they are chosen.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lists tropical cyclone names for 2024 through 2029 under its National Hurricane Center division, which started naming Atlantic tropical storms in 1953. These names are now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Read Next: Hurricane Preparedness Guide

2024’s Atlantic tropical cyclone names are: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Francine, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Milton, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie and William. If more than 21 named tropical cyclones occur in the Atlantic basin in a season, additional storms will take names from this alternative list of names approved by the WMO.

The National Hurricane Center also lists cyclone names for the eastern North Pacific basin for 2024 through 2029. 2024’s eastern North Pacific tropical cyclone names are: Aletta, Bud, Carlotta, Daniel, Emilia, Fabio, Gilma, Hector, Ileana, John, Kristy, Lane, Miriam, Norman, Olivia, Paul, Rosa, Sergio, Tara, Vicente, Willa, Xavier, Yolanda and Zeke. If more than 24 named tropical cyclones occur in the eastern Northern Pacific basin in a season, additional storms will take names from another alternative list of names approved by the WMO.

Additionally, four lists totaling 48 names are repeatedly cycled through for the central North Pacific.

Naming Hurricanes

Hurricane names are chosen by WMO’s relevant regional committees during their annual or biannual session, according to the organization’s website. These bodies establish a pre-designated list of names proposed by WMO members’ national meteorological and hydrological services.

The names –not named after individuals– are chosen by familiarity to people in each region so that they are understood and memorable. The WMO states on their website that naming procedures can vary by region and generally use the following criteria:

  • Short in character length for ease of use in communication
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Appropriate significance in different languages
  • Uniqueness – same names cannot be used in other regions. 

U.S. tropical storm names in both the eastern North Pacific and Atlantic basins are named in alphabetical order. This means that the first Atlantic basin hurricane of the year will be named Hurricane Alberto. The next will be named Beryl, then Chris and so on.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the six lists used to name Atlantic and eastern North Pacific tropical storms are rotated and re-cycled every six years. For example, the 2023 list will be used again in 2029.

Retired hurricane names
List of retired hurricane names by year. Courtesy NHC

The only time this changes is if a storm is so deadly or costly that future use of its name for a different storm would be inappropriate due to sensitivity. If that happens, then another name is selected by the WMO committee during the organization’s next annual meeting.

A list of retired hurricane names published by the National Hurricane Center records 2022’s Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Fiona as the most recently retired names. Other notable storms listed are Hurricane Maria in 2017, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. These three tropical cyclones are the deadliest to hit the U.S. since 1980, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.