Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: How tropical storms are named

The naming of tropical storms

How do tropical storms get named? I'd like to submit my name, Elvina.

The National Hurricane Center began naming storms in 1953 to better identify individual systems. It used female names only until 1979, when it began alternating men's and women's names.

The storm names, which are now maintained and updated by an international committee of the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization, are assigned for a six-year cycle, then the cycle is repeated unless a storm name is retired.

So, for example, we had a Josephine that caused some flooding in the Tampa Bay area in 1996, and we had a Josephine this summer too.

But there will never be another Katrina, because it, like the names of other particularly deadly storms, was retired. Seventy are in this category, including other familiar names as Andrew, Charley, Wilma and Hugo. Once a storm is retired, the WMO has to come up with a new name for that letter. Three "E" names won't be used again (Edna, Elena and Eloise) so perhaps Elvina will be in the mix someday. You can e-mail your suggestion to the WMO at wmo@wmo.int.

Storm names for 2008 are: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred. These names will be used again in 2014.

Lightning rods are no hazard

I recently read that a lightning rod may protect your home against lightning. Is it possible it would also attract lightning? Where can we purchase one?

Lightning rods don't attract lightning that wouldn't have struck the house anyway, says Dr. Greg Forbes, severe weather expert at the Weather Channel.

The safety devices protect a building by drawing lightning current to them from other parts of the roof. The rod's metal pole has an attached cable running into the ground. When lightning strikes, it seeks the quickest way to the ground. However, lightning rods do not protect appliances from electrical surges that come through wiring when a bolt strikes lines near a house, Forbes says.

Check with an electrician or home improvement store regarding installation and purchase of lightning rods.

Bracelet was a gift from family

Today show host Meredith Vieira always wears a silver bracelet. Is there a special significance to this bracelet?

Meredith Vieira was asked that same question in December on her blog. She said she wears her charm bracelet every day because it was given to her by her family on Sept. 12, 2006 — the night before she started on NBC's Today.

Inscribed on the charm are the words "We are with you" on one side and "Love, Richard, Ben, Gabe, Lily" on the other. You can blog with Meredith at meredithtoday.ivillage.com.

Q&A: How tropical storms are named 09/14/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 15, 2008 7:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. PolitiFact: 6 questions about the Senate health care bill and transparency

    Perspective

    Now that a Senate health care bill has been unveiled, senators will be jousting over its provisions to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks following a closed-door strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington on June 20. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  2. Bicylist critically injured in crash involving SUV on Bayside Bridge

    Accidents

    A bicyclist was critically injured Friday morning when a driver drifted into his lane and struck him on the Bayside Bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  3. Remnants of Cindy expected to drench Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia (w/video)

    Hurricanes

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Forecasters expect remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy to drench parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia Friday afternoon and evening, bringing heavy rainfall, possible flash flooding and higher river and lake levels through the weekend.

    Wth a rising tide, strong southerly winds from Tropical Depression Cindy lash the lakefront Thursday, June 22, 2017 in Mandeville, La. [David Grunfeld | NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP]
  4. North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier (w/video)

    World

    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday denied it cruelly treated or tortured an American student who was detained for more than year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]
  5. Johnny Depp jokes about assassinating President Trump at Glastonbury Festival (w/video)

    Celebrities

    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp has asked a crowd at the Glastonbury Festival when was the last time an actor assassinated a president. The remarks came during a segment Thursday in which Depp was speaking about President Donald Trump.

    Actor Johnny Depp introduces a film at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, in Somerset, England, Thursday, June 22, 2017. [Grant Pollard | Invision/AP]