Naming the Cyclones!

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G.P.VARMA

The recent cyclone Fani roared through Odisha on Friday (May 3, 2019) wreaked havoc in the state. The name Fani was suggested by Bangladesh.  It is pronounced as “FONI” which means the “Snake’s hood”.

The next Cyclone whenever it originates, will be named “Vayu” suggested by India.

The process of naming the cyclones was decided at the 27th session of the World Meteorological Organization and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific panel on Tropical Cyclones held at Muscat in Oman in 2000.

The session agreed to assign the names to the tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. The session approved the idea that the eight countries along Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea would suggest names in alphabetical order-Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The system of naming the Tropical Cyclones over North Indian Ocean commenced from September 2004.

Bangladesh first in the list suggested “Onil”-name for the cyclone which originated in Arabian Sea off the Gujrat coast in on September 30-October 10 2004.It had affected both India and Pakistan.

Cyclone “Phethai” originated in Bay of Bengal on December 15, 2018 and made landfall in Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The name to the cyclone was suggested by Thailand the last country in the alphabetical order..

Eight countries had suggested about 64 names and 57 names have been utilized. India had suggested names like Agni, Jali, Akash, Bijli. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan had suggested “Mala”, “Helen” and Nilofar respectively. These lists are used sequentially and are not rotated.

Public can also name the cyclone

People can also suggest the names for the cyclones and it could be included in the list if the proposed name met some fundamental criteria. The main criteria is that the name should be short. It should be readily understood when broadcasted. It must not be culturally sensitive. It must also not convey someone unintended. The name can be communicated to the Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) New Delhi.

History of naming the Cyclones


The practice of naming the cyclones was started in the United States with the object of identifying the cyclone and helping the researchers.

In the beginning the storms were named after the coast it hit. In the mid 1900’s the practice of giving feminine names to the cyclones was, started. However, before the end of 1900 cyclones forming in Southern Hemisphere were, addressed by male names.

Later, the meteorologists chalked out a plan for ensuring efficient and organized naming system and prepared a name list in alphabetical order.

Since 1953 Atlantic Tropical Storms were named from the list prepared by theNational Hurricane Centre.

About the storms


Storms are known for creating very bad weather. It brings torrential rain, flattens the kutcha houses (huts), uproots trees, power pylons and disrupts electric, traffic and communication system in the areas by it. It is marked with packing wind speed.

According to the American scientific agency The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NCAA) storms are called “Cyclones” over South Pacific and Indian Ocean. In North Atlantic, Central North Pacific and Eastern North Pacific it is termed as “Hurricane” while in the North West Pacific region it is known as “Typhoon.”

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