In the last four weeks, different parts of India bore the brunt of two cyclonic storms Tauktae and Yaas. We saw on TV the ferocity of these storms and the attendant damage they caused with high wind speeds and heavy downpour.

Have you wondered how these weather phenomena get their names as babies do at birth?

Here is the low-down: According to the India Meteorological Department or the Met (IMD), naming tropical cyclones began years ago to help in the quick identification of storms in warning messages because names are presumed to be far easier to remember than numbers and technical terms. In addition, many agree that these names make it easier for the media to report on tropical cyclones, heighten interest in warnings, and increase community preparedness.

These names are not of any person nor in any alphabetical sequence.

There is a strict procedure to determine a list of tropical cyclone names in an ocean basin. The regional body responsible for the basin identifies these names at its annual/biennial meeting. In addition, the Regional Specialised Meteorological centres (RSMC) are responsible for the distribution of information, advisories, warnings, monitoring and prediction of tropical cyclones over their respective regions. They are also responsible for naming the storms at a regional level. These names are rotated every few years. The name of a exceptionally deadly storm is retired and never used again.

<aside> 👉🏾 The WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones is an inter-governmental regional body jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP) in 1972 and associated with the Tropical Cyclone Programme of WMO


The RSMC of tropical cyclones in New Delhi has the mandate for issuing weather outlook and advisories on tropical cyclones for the countries in the WMO/ESCAP Panel region bordering the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The WMO/ESCAP Panel originally had eight members. These are Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Five new members (Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen) joined this list in September 2018.

<aside> ⛈️ The India Meteorological Department (IMD), on 28 April 2020, released a new list with the names of 169 tropical cyclones, including 13 names each from 13 WMO/ESCAP member countries that are likely to emerge over the north Indian Ocean, including the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.