How Pagasa names storms

Jolina, Wilma, and Zoraida.

These are just some of the names the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has chosen to identify the tropical cyclones that have visited or are expected to visit the country this year.

Out of all the names in the world, the weather bureau only chose names that are Filipino-sounding to establish an effective recall among the public, Pagasa Public Information Unit chief Venus Valdemoro explained.

Through its “Name A Bagyo” contest in 1998, Pagasa asked Filipinos to submit all the names they want to use for the typhoons that enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR). A committee chose about 140 names from the nominations in 1999.

Valdemoro continued described the list to contain four sets of 25 local names, not necessarily belonging people and each starting from A to Z, to determine how many typhoons have actually entered PAR every year.

“Since it was launched in 2001, the sets of new names haven’t changed. We need to change the international names of these cyclones so it will be easier for our countrymen to remember them,” Valdemoro told Yahoo! Southeast Asia.

She explained that each set of names also has an additional 10 auxiliary names starting with A to J that will be used for should typhoons exceed 25 for a specific year.

“We put these names in four columns (sets). We will use the first column for 2009, the second one for 2010 and so on until we use the last set for 2012. Then we have to go back to use the first column for 2013,” Valdemoro explained.

The naming system, which formally took effect in 2001, implied that the names used to identify tropical cyclones entering the archipelago will be repeated after every four years.

But Valdemoro noted the names of extraordinarily destructive storms, which claimed more than 300 lives and destroyed properties amounting to more than P1 billion pesos, had to be removed from the list.

Consequently, people will never again hear storm names like “Frank” that hit Panay islands in 2008 nor “Milenyo,” “Ondoy” or “Reming,” which is considered as the deadliest typhoon to batter the country in 2006.

After decommissioning typhoon names, Valdemoro said Pagasa had to update the list with new names to replace the old ones.

She explained this is to prevent psychological relapse or stop traumatic experiences from coming back to the people, who survived but lost their loved ones in the killer typhoons.

Back in the 1890s, tropical cyclones were named arbitrarily until Australian weatherman Clement Wragge started giving female names to tropical cyclones.

Wragge was also said to bestow names of politicians, who had incurred his disfavor, to tropical cyclones that made naming storms popular in the United States.

In the 19th century, male names were also given to typhoons that formed elsewhere.

During the World War II, a number of US Air Force pilots, US Navy soldiers, and weather forecasters named storms with supposed distinction after their wives and girlfriends.

In July 1946, a rare case occurred wherein three storms developed almost simultaneously in the western North Pacific basin where the Philippine territory is located.

Instead of giving it three names, the tropical cyclones were identified using latitude and longitude that caused confusion over which storm was being reported.

The following year, weather forecasters decided to identify storms with names in alphabetical order as military communicators suggested female names for those forming in the Northern Hemisphere.

From 1963 to 2001, it may be recalled that the Philippines had adopted a similar naming system using Filipino women's names starting from A to Y and ending with -NG or -ING like “Auring,” and “Yayang.”

These names had been used according to the 19 letters of the Filipino alphabet until the then Department of Education, Culture and Sports, now Department of Education, modernized it bringing it up to 26 letters including F, J, N, Q, X, and Z.

“But it’s hard thinking for names starting with N so we removed it in the new system. We also included male names for letters like Q which only a few names starts from,” he said.

Pagasa’s 1998 contest was thus held to replace the old-sounding female nicknames, which explains why there will be a tropical cyclone “Jolina.”

The list of names under the new naming system, which has been proven effective, has standardized the naming of regional tropical cyclones entering the country annually.

So what will Pagasa call the next storms? Here’s the list of possibilities:

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has updated its list …


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • In Tokyo, Philippine leader criticizes China over sea moves
    In Tokyo, Philippine leader criticizes China over sea moves

    TOKYO (AP) — On his sixth visit to Japan in five years, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday criticized China's assertiveness in regional seas, a concern shared by both countries as they deepen their ties. …

  • US returns $1 million forfeited from Filipino ex-general

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States returned to the Philippine government on Wednesday more than $1 million from the forfeited assets of a discharged Filipino general accused of stashing illegally obtained wealth in America. …

  • Japan, Philippines huddle amid increasing China concerns
    Japan, Philippines huddle amid increasing China concerns

    The Philippine president is on his sixth visit to Japan in less than five years, signaling his country's deepening ties with Tokyo amid increasing concerns by both sides about China's assertiveness in ... …

  • Philippines, Taiwan coast guards engage in standoff

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Coast guard vessels from the Philippines and Taiwan engaged in an hourslong standoff after the Philippine patrol boat tried to tow away a Taiwanese fishing vessel for alleged poaching, the Filipino coast guard spokesman said Wednesday. …

  • Philippine leader likens China to Nazi Germany
    Philippine leader likens China to Nazi Germany

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino likened present-day China to Nazi Germany on Wednesday during a speech in Japan, hinting the world cannot continue to appease Beijing as it claims ever-more territory in the South China Sea. The comments come as disquiet grows over the quickening pace of China's land reclamation programme in international waters, including its construction of a runway long enough for large military planes. "If there was a vacuum, if the United States, which is the …

  • Philippine's Aquino revives comparison between China and Nazi Germany
    Philippine's Aquino revives comparison between China and Nazi Germany

    By Kiyoshi Takenaka TOKYO (Reuters) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino made a veiled comparison on Wednesday between China's activities in the South China Sea and Nazi Germany's expansionism before World War Two, echoing similar remarks he made last year that outraged Beijing. Aquino, who is expected to agree beefed up defence ties with Japan when he meets Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday, also urged Beijing to rethink its land reclamation projects in the disputed waters. China has …

  • Buying a car? Top 15 safety features to look for
    Buying a car? Top 15 safety features to look for

    If not all, most of us understand the importance of safety. That’s why we often hear the reminder “safety first” from our family, friends and colleagues. But the question is, when it comes to buying a car, do we really put safety first? According to the 2014 Initial Quality Studies by J.D. Power, a global […] The post Buying a car? Top 15 safety features to look for appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • Pagasa expects stronger cyclones to hit Phl this year
    Pagasa expects stronger cyclones to hit Phl this year

    The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recently warned Filipinos to brace for stronger cyclones this year due to the El Niño phenomenon. “In terms of (the El Niño’s effect on tropical cyclones), we expect that more cyclones will reach the typhoon category, which is 118 kilometers per hour,” Flaviana Hilario, PAGASA deputy administrator for research and development, said. Hilario said the abnormal warming of the sea during an El Niño may …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options