What’s in a name?

Projections show the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season will likely be hot and heavy – the only thing that’s changed are the names

Before the start of every hurricane season, the World Meteorological Organization assigns a list of names for tropical storms in alphabetical order.

The names are cycled in and out every six years, although those given to particularly severe storms are permanently retired.

In case you were wondering, the original lists featured only women’s names. That changed in 1979, when men’s names were introduced.

For the 2022 season, which officially begins June 1, Alex leads off, followed by Bonnie, Colin and Danielle. Don’t be surprised if by September you’ve heard about Fiona, Gaston and Hermine, too. And, if we hit last year’s projected high – 14 named storms and 7 hurricanes – Walter would round out the list.

In the Atlantic Ocean, tropical storms that reach a sustained wind speed of 39 mph are given a name; if the storm sustains a wind speed of 74 mph or higher, it’s called a hurricane. So, contrary to popular belief, hurricanes are not given names, tropical storms are.

While it’s still too early to accurately project this year’s total, Colorado State University issued an extended range forecast, predicting slightly above-average activity, with 13–16 named storms, 6–8 hurricanes, 2–3 of which could develop into major hurricanes.

If it seems like there are more and more storms, it’s because there are. Last year, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center used updated averages from 1991-2020 as the new 30-year period of record. The previous averages, based on data from 1981 to 2010, projected 12 named storms and 6 hurricanes, so there’s clearly an uptick.

Each spring, TCEQ’s Emergency Response team readies for hurricane season with a series of exercises and training sessions that simulate – as best they can – the inevitable succession of tropical storms, preparing for the worst, hoping for the best.

To learn about how TCEQ prepares for storms, check out our Hurricane Preparedness page. Other great sources include NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, the Department of Homeland Security’s hurricane preparedness page, and the Texas Hurricane Center.

And for those expecting parents wishing to avoid saddling their child with a storm-related name, here’s this year’s complete list.


Stay tuned for more on the upcoming hurricane season – details on how TCEQ prepares for storms, how we assist first responders, and more. 


Photo Credit: Getty Images