Potential for a cyclone to form in the Coral Sea already has a name allocated.
Potential for a cyclone to form in the Coral Sea already has a name allocated. Contributed

CYCLONE: What's in a name?

WEATHER watchers are currently glued to the maps that are showing a possible cyclone forming near Australia.

The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed there are no tropical cyclones current in the Eastern region of Australia and the likelihood of one forming over the rest of the week is very low - less than five per cent.

However, there is a potential for one forming in the Coral Sea north-west of Cooktown, as a trough or weak low is located in the area.

This system is expected to remain weak in the Coral Sea, before moving west into the Gulf of Carpentaria on Friday or Saturday.

If this system does become classed as a tropical cyclone, the next name given to it, according to the BOM, will be Kelvin.

Name list

The tropical cyclone name page on their website provides a listing of 104 names that are used for tropical cyclones in the Australian Region.

The name of a new tropical cyclone is usually selected from this list of names.

If a named cyclone moves into the Australian region from another country's zone of responsibility, the name assigned by that other country will be retained.

The names are normally chosen in sequence, when the list is exhausted, they return to the start of the list.

The Bureau of Meteorology receives many requests from the public to name Tropical Cyclones after themselves, friends, etc.

The Bureau is unable to grant all these requests as they far out-number the number of Tropical Cyclones that occur in the Australian region.

50 year wait

Note that it can take many decades for a suitable slot to become available, then a further 10-20 years for the names to cycle through, so it is likely to be well over 50 years before your requested name is allocated to a cyclone.

Naming policy

  • Tropical cyclone names in each list alternate male and female
  • Names of cyclones that have already significantly affected the Australian region cannot be used again and are retired (eg. Debbie is to be retired)
  • If two or more cyclones are occurring simultaneously, similar sounding names (eg June & Jane) are avoided to minimise confusion
  • Names should not be capable of being construed to subject the Bureau to criticism or ridicule (eg naming a sequence of cyclones after politicians)
  • Lists of names are coordinated with neighbouring meteorological services to avoid duplication

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