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Tropical Storm Nicole or TD 16: How to name hurricanes


TD 16, the sixteenth Tropical Depression of the year -- the pesky rainmaker currently drenching the area -- just reached Tropical Storm status.

Welcome to the East Coast, Nicole.

It happened with Earl, Igor and Karl as they took their respective turns churning off the coast earlier this year. It happened Wednesday morning, too -- that annual, almost rhetorical "Who names the hurricanes, anyway?" discussion.

Since we're talking about disruptive forces of nature, the naming process is actually sort of boring. As much as we'd all like to believe there's a mysterious hurricane naming tribunal, the responsibility actually lies with The World Meteorological Association, which pulls the names off an already designated list.

Slightly more interesting are these factoids from The National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center:

  • The original hurricane name lists featured only women's names -- men's names weren't introduced until 1979, and now the list alternates sexes with each storm.
  • There are six lists on hand with hurricane names -- this means 2009 names will make a reappearance in 2015.
  • Exceptionally unruly storms get the boot -- Andrew, Isabel and Katrina grace this list of misfits.

If I ever have any say in the matter -- and I feel confident in saying this will never happen -- I'd be all for pop culture-based hurricane names to help us remember who and where we were as a culture when the storms hit. Hurricane Bueller? Totally 1986. Hurricane OJ? Hello, 1994. For 2010, the possibilities seem endless: Hurricane Palin, Hurricane LiLo and Hurricane Hasselhoff are all options, and I'm just talking about the past week. But then I forget that storm names are used worldwide -- that, and everyone thinks Americans are nuts anyway.

Suddenly, Otto doesn't seem so bad.

For updates on Nicole, follow @capitalweather on Twitter or visit the Capital Weather Gang blog.

By Katie Rogers  | September 29, 2010; 1:27 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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