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Christina Loren is a Certified Meteorologist with an enthusiastic passion for atmospheric science.

A Simple Explanation of How Hurricanes are Named

By: Christina Loren

Tropical storms and hurricanes are capable of devastating large populations and destroying wide swaths of property. Although the National Hurricane Center does the heavy lifting of forecasting and tracking tropical cyclones in the United States, they are not responsible for the names that these powerful storms receive. Instead, the World Meteorological Organization is in charge of naming tropical storms and hurricanes. Tropical depressions do not get names unless they strengthen and develop and meet certain criteria. Simply stated, a storm must have max wind speeds of 39 mph or more around a closed center of circulation in order to reach tropical storm strength and receive a name. If max winds reach 74 mph or more around a closed low, the storm is then upgraded to a hurricane.

During hurricane season it is not uncommon for multiple tropical cyclones to occur at the same time. Assigning names to these powerful systems helps to eliminate confusion and eases keeping tabs on the track and intensity of each storm. That is why the WMO creates a list of names in alphabetical order that can be repeated after a six year interval. However, when a storm is exceptionally destructive, such as Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Andrew, the name is retired.

Hurricane Irene
August 20, 2011 - August 28, 2011

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posted by Christina Loren @ 1:28 PM,


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