If you haven’t noticed yet, this hurricane season is following the same list of storm names as the infamous 2004 season, which brought hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne to Florida.
Those four names were retired, as names often are when they cause massive destruction or loss of life.
So what names replaced them? Well, we’ve already had two – tropical storm Colin replaced Charley, and Tropical Storm Fiona replaced Frances.
Ivan and Jeanne will become Ian and Julia this year if we get that far down on the list.
In 2004, the names made it to Otto, a short-lived tropical storm that stayed out to sea, and hence, Otto remains on this year’s list.
The next name following Gaston, which is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane with no immediate threat to land, is Hermine (her-MEEN).
A Change.org petition is calling for the National Hurricane Center to rename the Hermine to Harambe, after the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla that was shot and killed in May after a 4-year-old boy fell into his enclosure.
There’s some meme going around about Harambe that the zoo has asked people to stop using, but, nonetheless, somebody out there thinks it’s funny.
Storm names aren’t picked by the National Hurricane Center. That falls on the World Meteorological Organization. It picks names that are commonly 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,” said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. “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.