With the 2017 hurricane season some six weeks behind us, it’s time to see what’s on the horizon for 2018 and see what the list of names is for the new year. When a hurricane or tropical storm is 6 days away and bearing down on the Lowcountry like a freight train, all we have to associate the storm with is a name.
Several names will be etched in Beaufort lore forever. Gracie, Hugo and Matthew are just a few of them.
Hurricane names are selected by the World Meteorological Organization. Every six years, the list of names begins again.
Originally, most were female names. A weatherman in Australia is credited with being the first person to name a tropical storm after a female. During World War II, meteorologists in the U.S. military named storms after their girlfriends and wives. Atlantic hurricanes began to be officially given women’s names starting in 1954 and men’s names were added in 1979.
The list of names for 2018 is
However, the names of especially destructive hurricanes are usually retired. These hurricanes had a terrible impact on lives or the economy and the offending name is replaced by another name. The practice of retiring storm names was begun by the United States Weather Bureau in 1955, after major hurricanes Carol, Edna, and Hazel struck the Northeastern United States during the previous year.
Most recently, the names Otto and Matthew were retired, and we all know why. They caused numerous fatalities and the extensive damage in 2016. Matthew was replaced by Martin, and Otto was replaced by Owen in the rotating list of names provided by the WMO.