Listen&Learn: Why Hurricanes Have Human Names

Jaksyn Peacock Posted by: Jaksyn Peacock
Find out why and how tropical storms are given their names.

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • hurricane: a type of tropical storm
  • meteorologist: a person who studies or reports the weather
  • identify: to make something recognizable by giving it a name
  • politician: a person who works in government
  • recycle: to use something again
  • retired: no longer used

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

In 1890, Australian meteorologist Clement Wragge became the first person to use human names to identify tropical storms. He didn’t choose names based on a ; he simply named storms after politicians he disliked. However, the practice of naming storms after people didn’t become until the 1940s, when American meteorologists began to name storms after their wives. Eventually, the World Meteorological Organization developed a system for naming storms. There are lists of hurricane names, assigned alphabetically. Originally, hurricanes were only given names, but since the 1970s, the name lists have included male names as well. The names are often recycled, but if a storm is especially , its name is never used again. Some of these retired names are Katrina, Sandy, and Matthew.

Comprehension questions

1. Clement Wragge named storms after

Correct! Wrong!

Clement Wragge named storms after politicians he disliked.

2. It became common to name hurricanes after people in

Correct! Wrong!

It became common to name hurricanes after people in the 1970s.

3. Currently, hurricane name lists contain

Correct! Wrong!

Currently, hurricane name lists contain both male and female names.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Do you live in a place where hurricanes or other tropical storms happen often?
  2. What do you think you would do to prepare for a hurricane?

Transcript

In 1890, Australian meteorologist Clement Wragge became the first person to use human names to identify tropical storms. He didn’t choose names based on a system; he simply named storms after politicians he disliked. However, the practice of naming storms after people didn’t become common until the 1940s, when American meteorologists began to name storms after their wives. Eventually, the World Meteorological Organization developed a system for naming storms. There are official lists of hurricane names, assigned alphabetically. Originally, hurricanes were only given female names, but since the 1970s, the name lists have included male names as well. The names are often recycled, but if a storm is especially destructive, its name is never used again. Some of these retired names are Katrina, Sandy, and Matthew.

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub
© EnglishClub.com

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