Sandy unleashed her fury on the US last week and left massive destruction in her wake.
Who named her Sandy?
Since 1953, hurricanes were named after the lists generated by National Hurricane Centre, USA. However, the names are now maintained and updated by the international committee of World Meteorological Organisation.
Why was the hurricane named Sandy?
WMO has six lists that are rotated over the years. Currently 2012 list is in operation which will be used again in 2018. Sandy is the 18th name on the current list.
How are the names picked up from this list? Interesting question.
Each list has names in alphabetical order starting from ‘A’ and up to ‘W’ and without any names beginning with ‘Q’ or ‘U’. Once a hurricane reaches the ‘Tropical Storm’ status, it is given a name from the list.
Sandy is a female name. Are all hurricanes named after females? Good observation!
Names in the list are actually alternated between male and female names. This hurricane was named Sandy after Rafael was used for the hurricane before it. However before 1979, only female names were used. It was in 1979 when the male names were introduced for the first time. Maybe the feminism movement caught up with them!
What happens if the list is exhausted before 2012 ends and hurricanes still occur?
Oh, a little pessimism there, huh! No, WMO does not move onto the next list in line. They have to use the greek alphabets next. That is Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.
So will we see Sandy again?
Do you really want to see the fury of Sandy again? No, right? Any hurricane that has been too destructive or expensive, its name is retired. WMO replaces that name with some other. Now, there are various reasons for doing so. There are obviously sensitivity issues, but also to avoid confusion when the hurricane is being referred to in future.
How are the names chosen to go on the list?
The names are selected by the members of the international committee of WMO. Only those names are chosen which are thought to be familiar for the people living in the region that is affected by the hurricane.
No, you can’t register your name to be used for a hurricane’s name. Although how cool would it be if that was possible, because then you could show your ex how you really feel about them!