Real World: Science of Storm Names

Storm Names


Everyone alive in 2005 remembers Katrina as a powerful and devastating hurricane. In 2013, Lorenzo came and went out at sea without many people noticing. Storms get their names in a prescribed way and names are being given to more storms.

News You Can Use

Hurricane Isabel (2003) seen from the International Space Station [Figure2]

  • Tropical cyclones have been named since 1945 to simplify discussions about the storms.
  • The list of names rotates every six years. A name is retired if the storm has a big impact on people.
  • In 2011, The Weather Channel started naming winter storms that they said are disruptive to people. These names are not acknowledged by the National Weather Service.

Show What You Know

With the links below, learn more about naming big storms. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What conditions must be met for a tropical storm to receive a name?
  2. When is a tropical storm name retired?
  3.  Why does The Weather Channel say they are now naming winter storms?
  4.  What are the reasons that people outside The Weather Channel say TWC is naming winter storms?
  5.  Why is naming winter storms bad or at least unnecessary?

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