We're into our third tropical storm of the year. First was Tropical Storm Arlene, then Bret and now Tropical Storm Cindy. Is the storm named after Cindy McMullen? Who and how do they come up with storm names?

Tropical storms are named from six lists originated by the National Hurricane Center back in 1953. the lists are managed with a strict procedure by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Each list contains 21 names. The National Hurrican Center says the only time a name on the list is retired is when a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. The stricken names are replaced at the next yearly meeting of the WMO. In 2016 names Matthew and Otto were retired. 2005 holds the record for the most removed names and include Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, and Wilma. Here are scheduled names for the next few years.


Storms, hurricanes and cyclones have been named for hundreds of years. It was an Australian meteorologist in late 1800's that started naming the tropical storms after women. It wasn't until 1978 that male names were added to the storm list.

According to NOAA, the use of names is simpler to remember than latitude and longitude coordinates and reduces confusion when two or more tropical storms occur at the same time.

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