The 2016 hurricane season began June 1, but the National Hurricane Center started pushing out the season’s names months ago.
And maybe that’s because some of them have some tricky pronunciations.
Most are fairly self-explanatory, such as Bonnie (BAH-nee) and Richard (RIH-churd). And we’ve already scratched easy Alex off the list when the first hurricane of 2016 formed in January south of the Azores.
But how about Hermine? or Virginie?
Hurricane Hermine is pronounced her-MEEN. Hopefully, we will not reach the bottom of the list, but Hurricane Virginie will be pronounced vir-JIN-ee.
In a previous blog, I explained how and why hurricanes are named.
According to National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen, names selected by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) are usually common names associated with the ethnicity of the basin that would be impacted by the storms.
“For example, in the Atlantic basin, the majority of storms have English names, but there are also a number of Hispanic-origin names as well as a few French names,” Feltgen said. “For the eastern North Pacific basin, the majority of names are of Hispanic origin, as the impacted countries are Mexico, Guatemala, and other nations of Central America.”
Beginning in 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. Six lists are in rotation and they are now maintained and updated by the WMO.
A storm name can be removed from the list if it is particularly deadly or costly.
For example, there will be no more Hurricane Andrew, after the devastating 1992 Category 5 storm. And the 2004 and 2005 seasons saw a whole slew of names retired from the list including, Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma.