NAMING OF TROPICAL CYCLONES
Prior to 1890, the world's tropical cyclones were named arbitrarily.
An Atlantic storm which dismasted a boat named "Antje"
in 1842 became "Antje's hurricane." A typhoon which
devastated Samar and Leyte on the 12th of October 1897 was called
"El Baguio de Samar y Leyte."
Before the end of the 19th century, Clement Wragge, an Australian
weatherman, started giving tropical cyclones female names. Those
which formed elsewhere were given male names. Normally Wragge
was said to bestow this honor upon politicians who had incurred
In 1941, a storm was named after Maria in the novel "storm"
by George B. Stewart. Naming storms became quiet popular in the
United States during the second World War. A number of air force
and navy weather forecasters gave their wives and girlfriends
supposed distinction of having storms named after them.
In 1942, a storm was named after President Truman by the U.S.
press and later in the season one was named after the president's
In July 1946, a rare case occurred wherein three storms developed
almost simultaneously in the western North-Pacific basin where
the Philippine territory is located. Instead of names, all three
were identified based on their location (latitude-longitude).
After sometime confusion prevailed over which storm was being
Early the next year, forecasters decided to identify storms using
names in alphabetical order in which the first storm of the year
will be dubbed Agnes, then Beverly, then Carmen, etc. Military
communicators suggested female names for those forming in the
Northern Hemisphere and male names for those in the southern half.
Names issued by the US Air Force weather squadrons stationed in
Guam was then adopted by the Philippine Weather Service until
Thus in the 1963 tropical cyclone season, the Philippine Weather
Bureau adopted four sets of Pilipino women's nicknames ending
in the "Ng" from A to Y to name all tropical cyclones
occurring within the Philippine area of responsibility/ These
four groups of names have been prepared and arranged according
to the Pilipino alphabet. Names from each set were then used for
each so that the groups will be repeated every four years. Each
group is accompanied by an auxiliary list from A to G just in
case the number of tropical cyclones within the season exceeds
the number of Pilipino alphabets. The first tropical cyclone for
the year will always begin with letter A, the second begins with
Letter B and so forth. The said system of naming tropical cyclone
is quiet practical in many ways.
Names selected cannot be confused with American names - they being
unique and applicable only in the Philippine Tropical Cyclones.
- The Pilipino names will indicate that the storm is within
the forecast responsibility of the Philippine Weather Bureau and
would have a high probability of affecting the Philippines.
- The Pilipino alphabet has 19 characters which is equal to
the average number of tropical cyclones occurring in the Philippine
area of responsibility in a year. Hence, at the end of the year
one can tell whether the number of storms occurring in the area
is above below normal by noting how far the name of the last cyclone
of the year was from the first letter of the alphabet. Further,
the same of the tropical cyclone will indicate how many cyclones
have occurred within the area since the start of the year. Thus,
for 1993 typhoon Tasing will be the 16th tropical cyclone of the
In February 1979, the names of the extraordinarily destructive
storms were retired or decommissioned and revised list of names
for tropical cyclones entering the Philippine area of responsibility
was adopted. A tropical cyclone causing a total damage of one
billion pesos or greater and claiming three hundred or more lives
was then classified as destructive and consequently decommissioned.
The said list was again revised in 1985 to help minimize confusion
in the historical records.
List of Names for Tropical Cyclones