Maria, Jose, Lee: Where do hurricane names come from?

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The total destruction from hurricanes Harvey and Irma is not yet known. Maria is set to potentially devastate Puerto Rico. Meteorologists are monitoring Jose and Lee as they churn up the Atlantic.

Where do all these names come from, and what name will be next? You probably already know that hurricane names go in alphabetical order throughout the season, but it's more structured than that.

The World Meteorological Organization, which is in charge of assigning names to hurricanes and tropical storms, has six lists that they cycle through. (In other words, they are currently using non-retired names that were also used in both 2011 and 2005.) They've been using this system since 1953.

The WMO looks for short, distinctive names when choosing new ones for their lists. A new one must be chosen if a name is "retired" -- that is, if a storm is so destructive or deadly that it would be insensitive to continue to use the name.

WMO has not officially made Harvey a retired name. Matthew and Otto, the two names taken off the list due to 2016 storms, were officially listed as retired in March.

There are more rules in the name choosing process. For example, only 21 letters of the English alphabet are in use, so none of the names start with less common letters like Q.

Here's the list of names for storms in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic.

"A" names
Arlene (2017)
Alberto (2018)
Andrea (2019)
Arthur (2020)
Ana (2021)
Alex (2022)

"B" names
Bret (2017)
Beryl (2018)
Barry (2019)
Bertha (2020)
Bill (2021)
Bonnie (2022)

"C" names
Cindy (2017)
Chris (2018)
Chantal (2019)
Cristobal (2020)
Claudette (2021)
Colin (2022)

"D" names
Don (2017)
Debby (2018)
Dorian (2019)
Dolly (2020)
Danny (2021)
Danielle (2022)

"E" names
Emily (2017)
Ernesto (2018)
Erin (2019)
Edouard (2020)
Elsa (2021)
Earl (2022)

"F" names
Franklin (2017)
Florence (2018)
Fernand (2019)
Fay (2020)
Fred (2021)
Fiona (2022)

"G" names
Gert (2017)

Gordon (2018)
Gabrielle (2019)
Gonzalo (2020)
Grace (2021)
Gaston (2022)

"H" names
Harvey (2017)
Helene (2018)
Humberto (2019)
Hanna (2020)
Henri (2021)
Hermine (2022)

"I" names
Irma (2017)
Isaac (2018)
Imelda (2019)
Isaias (2020)
Ida (2021)
Ian (2022)

"J" names
Jose (2017)
Joyce (2018)
Jerry (2019)
Josephine (2020)
Julian (2021)
Julia (2022)

"K" names
Katia (2017)
Kirk (2018)
Karen (2019)
Kyle (2020)
Kate (2021)
Karl (2022)

"L" names
Lee (2017)
Leslie (2018)
Lorenzo (2019)
Laura (2020)
Larry (2021)
Lisa (2022)

"M" names
Maria (2017)
Michael (2018)
Melissa (2019)
Marco (2020)
Mindy (2021)
Martin (2022)

"N" names
Nate (2017)
Nadine (2018)

Nestor (2019)
Nana (2020)
Nicholas (2021)
Nicole(2022)

"O" names
Ophelia (2017)
Oscar (2018)
Olga (2019)
Omar (2020)
Odette (2021)
Owen (2022)

"P" names
Philippe (2017)
Patty (2018)
Pablo (2019)
Paulette (2020)
Peter (2021)
Paula (2022)

"R" names
Rina (2017)
Rafael (2018)
Rebekah (2019)
Rene (2020)
Rose (2021)
Richard (2022)

"S" names
Sean (2017)
Sara (2018)
Sebastien (2019)
Sally (2020)
Sam (2021)
Shary (2022)

"T" names
Tammy (2017)
Tony (2018)
Tanya (2019)
Teddy (2020)
Teresa (2021)
Tobias (2022)

"V" names
Vince (2017)
Valerie (2018)
Van (2019)
Vicky (2020)
Victor (2021)
Virginie (2022)

"W" names
Whitney (2017)
William (2018)
Wendy (2019)
Wilfred (2020)
Wanda (2021)
Walter (2022)

Related Topics:
weatherhurricanetropical stormhurricane harveyhurricane irma

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