PAG-ASA

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 his disfavor.

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 wife, Bess.

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 reported.

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 1963.

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.

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