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As Phethai Hits Eastern Coast, A Look At How Cyclones Are Named

As Phethai Hits Eastern Coast, A Look At How Cyclones Are Named
(Source- PIB Twitter handle)

News Desk

As Phethai Hits Eastern Coast, A Look At How Cyclones Are Named

The naming of hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones has an interesting history.

Cyclonic storm Phethai made landfall at 35 km east-southeast of Narsapur and 75 km south-southwest of Kakinada at 12.30 pm on Monday.

Phethai formed over the Bay of Bengal moved further northwards and weakened near Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Machilipatnam and Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh).

(Source- IMD Twitter handle)

(Source- IMD Twitter handle)

A red warning has been issued for Andhra Pradesh and Yanam (Puducherry) coasts, orange for Odisha and yellow alert for Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Gangetic West Bengal.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday ordered the authorities to take precautionary measures and ensure availability of water and food for people.

Phethai is the third cyclone that Andhra Pradesh has been hit with in the past three months, the first two being, Titli and Gaja.

The name of the cyclonic storm ‘Phethai’ has been given by Thailand while ‘Titli’ was suggested by Sri Lanka and ‘Gaja’ was given by Pakistan.

(Read – Depression in Bay of Bengal Moves Toward Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu)

Naming Tradition Of Cyclones

The history of naming hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones can be traced back with hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, where tropical storms blown with wind speeds of 39 miles per hour were given names.

Earlier, the Caribbean Islands named the storms after the saint of the day from the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar according to the day on which it occurred.

After World War II, weather forecasting departments adopted female names to identify the storms. The US weather service officially created a new phonetic alphabet of female names from A to W, excluding alphabets Q, U, X, Y and Z in 1953. Owing to the protests by women’s liberation bodies, the naming procedure also included male names in 1978.

Process Of Naming

Many countries are involved in this process led by the World Meteorological Organization.

The storms are named alphabetically. In even-numbered years, men’s names are given to odd-numbered storms and in odd-numbered years, even-numbered storms got female names.

The names of the storms that cause massive damage and lose of life are not used again for at least for 10 years, as a mark of respect to the dead.

If the name is retired, it is replaced by another of the same gender and beginning with the same alphabet. There have been around 50 names that have been retired globally since 1972.

(Read – Cyclonic Storm Titli Leaves Trail Of Devastation in Andhra, Odisha)

Naming Culture For North Indian Ocean

The process of naming the cyclones began in 2000 for the Indian Ocean region. In 2004, India and its neighbouring countries agreed upon a formula to keep names of a cyclonic storm whenever it develops.

The names of cyclones in Indian seas are not allocated in alphabetical order but are arranged by the name of the country which has suggested the name.

Here are the names which were selected for the Indian Ocean from 2004 onwards-

Bangladesh –Onil, Ogni (2006), Nisha (2008), Giri, Helen, Chapla, Ockhi (2017) and Fani

India – Agni (2004), Akash, Bijli, Jal (2010), Lehr, Megh (2015), Sagra and Vayu

Maldives – Hibaru, Gonu, Aila, Keila, Madi (2013), Roanu, Mekunu and Hikaa

Myanmar – Pyarr, Yemyin, Phyan, Thane (2011), Na-nauk, Kyant, Daye (2018) and Kyarr

Oman –Baaz, Sidr (2007), Ward (2009), Murjan, Hudhud, Nada, Luban (2018)  and Maha

Pakistan – Fanoos (2005), Nargis, Laila, Nilam (2012), Nilofar (2014), Vradah (2016), Titli (2018) and Bulbul

Sri Lanka – Mala, Rashmi, Bandu, Mahasen, Ashobaa, Marutha, Gaja (2018) and Pavan

Thailand – Mukda, Khai-Muk, Phet, Phailin, Komen, Mora, Phethai(2018) and Amphan

Why Name A Cyclone?

According to the IMD, tropical cyclones are named to provide ease of communication between forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts and warnings.

Since the storms can often last a week or even longer and more than one cyclone can be occurring in the same region at the same time, names can reduce the confusion about what storm is being described.

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