MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Ever wonder why we name tropical storms?
Tropical storms and hurricanes were tracked by year and the order in which they occurred during that year through the early 1950s. This caused confusion when there was more than one storm happening at the same time.
The United States began using female names for storms in 1953. Both male and female names were used to identify Northern Pacific storms by 1978. Storms in the Atlantic ocean and Gulf of Mexico finally adopted this change in 1979.
You would think that NOAA's National Hurricane Center controls the naming of tropical storms but that's not the case. It's actually controlled by the World Meteorological Organization.
There is a list of male and female names which are used on a six-year rotation for Atlantic named storms. The only time that there is a change is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the name gets retired in order not to confuse it with future storms. If more than twenty-one named tropical storms occur in a single season, any additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet.
As of July 6th, we have Tropical Depression 4 way out in the pacific ocean. If T.D. 4 becomes a tropical storm, it will be named "Don." You can get a complete list of names by going to the National Weather Service website.