Natural Disasters

How do cyclones get their name?

The process of naming cyclones started when it became difficult for the authorities to alert people about the cyclones through longitude and latitude coordinates

 
Last Updated: Tuesday 07 May 2019

Every cyclone that has hit India and its neighbours since 2004 has had a name. The most recent one that made landfall on May 3, 2019, in Odisha was called Fani 

The process of naming cyclones started when it became difficult for the authorities to alert people about the cyclones through longitude and latitude coordinates. The media also finds it easier to report on a cyclone if it has a name.  

Earlier, storms were named arbitrarily, but the mid-1900s saw the start of the practice of using feminine names for storms. In the pursuit of a more organised and efficient naming system, meteorologists later decided to identify storms using names from a list arranged alphabetically 

Now, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is responsible for naming cyclones. Under the WMO, ten different naming committees have been formed.  

The Northern Indian Ocean committee is responsible for naming the recent cyclone that made a landfall in Odisha as Fani. This committee comprises of eight countries: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.  

A pool of names has been suggested by these countries in which each country has given a list of eight names for the cyclones in a combined pool of 64.  

Selection of names have been done keeping the colloquial usage of the words. The name Fani, pronounced as Foni, has been suggested by Bangladesh, literally meaning a snake’s hood. 

The name Okchi, the cyclone that hit Kerala in 2018, was also suggested by Bangladesh. Titly cyclone that hit Odisha in the same year was suggested by Paksitan.  

India has also suggested names to this committee, like Agni, Akash, Bijli, Jal, Lehar, Megh, Sagar and Vayu. The next cyclone will be called Vayu, a name that has been suggested by India. 

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