Storms started being named by the National Weather Service in 1953. Prior, there was a naming system in the West Indies that used the saint's day that a hurricane landed on for its name. This system was used for a couple of hundred years until the US military started using the phonetic alphabet to name storms. Storm number one would be named Able, storm two, Baker and so on. This went on until the phonetic alphabet was changed in 1953 and the National Weather Service began using female names for storms.
In 1978 using just female names ended, first with the Pacific storms, and male names were added to the mix. Today there is an international committee of the
World Meteorological Organization that assigns storm names. They don't appear to a real creative group since they rotate the same names on a six year cycle. This system has been in place since 1979.
Some storm names have been retired. This honor is given storms that are extra horrific. The well recognized storms, Katrina, Igor, Ivan, Andrew, Gloria and Hugo are just a few of the retired names.
For 2013 the Named Storms for the Atlantic are:
In the event a year is extra stormy the names then become the Greek Alphabet beginning with Alpha.
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