Tropical
Twisters - Hurricanes: How they work and what they do.

How are Hurricanes Named?

Animation of Hurricane Mitch Hurricanes names are chosen from a list selected by the World Meteorological Organization. The Atlantic is assigned six lists of names, with one list used each year. Every sixth year, the first list begins again. Each name on the list starts with a different letter, for example, the name of the very first hurricane of the season starts with the letter A, the next starts with the letter B, and so on. The letters "Q", "U", "X", "Y" and "Z", however, are not used.

Often when an unusually destructive hurricane hits, that hurricane's name is retired and never used again. Since 1954, forty names have been retired. In 1996 Hurricane Luis was retired. Is your name among the currently used or retired hurricane names?


Find out more about Hurricanes.

Retired Names

Retired
Name
Replacement
Name
AllisonAndrea
FloydFranklin
GeorgesGaston
IrisIngrid
KatrinaKatia
KeithKirk
LennyLee
MichelleMelissa

Hurricane Names Selected for the Atlantic Basin

1997/20031998/20041999/20052000/20062001/20072002/2008
AnaAlexArleneAlbertoAllison*Arthur
BillBonnieBretBerylBarryBertha
ClaudetteCharleyCindyChrisChantalCesar
DannyDanielleDennisDebbyDeanDolly
ErikaEarlEmilyErnestoErinEdouard
FabianFrancesFloyd*FlorenceFelixFran
GraceGeorges*GertGordonGabrielleGustav
HenriHermineHarveyHeleneHumbertoHorrtense
IsabelIvanIreneIsaacIris*Isidore
JuanJeanneJoseJoyceJerryJosephine
KateKarlKatrina*Keith*KarenKyle
LarryLisaLenny*LeslieLorenzoLili
MindyMitch*MariaMichaelMichelle*Marco
NicholasNicoleNateNadineNoelNana
OdetteOttoOpheliaOscarOlgaOmar
PeterPaulaPhillippePattyPabloPaloma
RoseRichardRitaRafaelRebekahRene
SamSharyStanSandySebastienSally
TeresaTomasTammyTonyTanyaTeddy
VictorVirginieVinceValerieVanVicky
WandaWalterWilmaWilliamWendyWilfred

* Hurricanes retired since 1985.


Updated: January 22, 2003