Hurricane season is here. You could see the names Fiona, Julia and Walter soon

·3 min read

Among the 21 named storms forecast for the 2022 Atlantic season, 10 could be hurricanes.

Hurricane season off the Atlantic Ocean began June 1 and will continue through Nov. 30, with peak hurricane possibilities in August and September. Tropical Storm Alex hit South Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas on the first weekend of June, and the developing Tropical Storm Bonnie could hit Central America at end the month.

Experts warned this year's storms could be more intense, so people throughout the Southeast and East Coast might become familiar with the soon-to-be used names.

Here's what to know about tropical storm and hurricane names:

  • Names have been used for tropical storms and hurricanes since 1953.

  • Names are used in case two storms happen at the same time, so people aren't confused or misled.

  • The names are decided well in advance and sometimes recycled.

Ida was a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic in August and September 2021. Ida was retired from the list of hurricane names because of the destruction it caused.
Ida was a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic in August and September 2021. Ida was retired from the list of hurricane names because of the destruction it caused.

Who decides the names? Why do tropical storms and hurricanes get names?

The names are decided "through a strict procedure" by the World Meteorological Organization, based in Geneva.

The WMO said that originally, storms were named after buildings or structures they damaged, or they were named by where they were located. That could make it hard to follow if the storm moved across a region.

"Tropical cyclones can last for a week or more; therefore, there can be more than one cyclone at a time. Weather forecasters give each tropical cyclone a name to avoid confusion," the WMO said.

In 1953, the National Hurricane Center began using female names for Atlantic storms. Male names were added to the cycle in 1979, and male and females names alternated through the alphabet, though there are no names that begin with Q, U, X, Y or Z. There is a separate list of names for storms in the Pacific and other parts of the world.

A storm gets named when it has sustained winds of 39 mph. A storm becomes a hurricane when it reaches winds of 74 mph.

2022 hurricane season: This year tracks behind the crazy pace of 2020, 2021, but it's still early.

What to know about the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season: What's the forecast? How to prepare?

Tropical storm and hurricane names for 2022:

  • Alex

  • Bonnie

  • Colin

  • Danielle

  • Earl

  • Fiona

  • Gaston

  • Hermine

  • Ian

  • Julia

  • Karl

  • Lisa

  • Martin

  • Nicole

  • Owen

  • Paula

  • Richard

  • Shary

  • Tobias

  • Virginie

  • Walter

A name will be retired "if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name for a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity," according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Ninety-four names have been retired, including Ida, which was retired in April because of the death and destruction the hurricane caused in 2021.

If a storm name is not retired, it is recycled every six years, so this year's names could be used again in 2028.

What if all the names get used?

Greek letters, such as Alpha, Beta and Gamma, were used as supplemental names until the World Meteorological Organization scrapped that practice in 2021.

If all the names are used in 2022, here are backups:

  • Adria

  • Braylen

  • Caridad

  • Deshawn

  • Emery

  • Foster

  • Gemma

  • Heath

  • Isla

  • Jacobus

  • Kenzie

  • Lucio

  • Makayla

  • Nolan

  • Orlanda

  • Pax

  • Ronin

  • Sophie

  • Tayshaun

  • Viviana

  • Will

Contributing: Doyle Rice

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricane names 2022: The list of names for the Atlantic storm season