May 12, 200610:23 AMThe Life
28 years ago today
May 12, 2006 - 10:23 AM...the Commerce Department said hurricane names would stop being just female.
For several hundred years, many hurricanes in the West Indies were named after the particular saint's day on which the hurricane occurred. Examples: Hurricane Santa Ana (26 July 1825) and Hurricane San Felipe (the first, 13 Sept. 1876; the second, 13 Sept. 1928).
Before the end of the 19th century, Australian meteorologist Clement Wragge began giving women's names to tropical storms.
In 1953, the United States abandoned a plan to name storms by a phonetic alphabet (Able, Baker, Charlie) when a new international phonetic alphabet was introduced. That year, America's weather services began using female names for storms.
But the practice of naming hurricanes solely after women came to an end on May 12, 1978, when men's and women's names were included in the Eastern North Pacific storm lists. In 1979, male and female names were included in Atlantic lists.
This year's list for North Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico storms: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, William. The letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are not included because of the scarcity of names beginning with those letters.