How Do Typhoons Get Their Names?
By Milly September 22, 2018 2 min read

The most recent Typhoon Mangkhut, which is said to be this year's strongest storm to have hit China, barrelled through the Pearl River Delta on Sunday, leaving a trail of damage, flooding, and injuries in its wake and forcing the closure of schools, markets, and most public services across Guangdong.

Pedestrians struggle to cross a roadway amid heavy rains in Shenzhen

So how does a typhoon have its name? Why it is called Mangkhut instead of apple, peach or anything else?

A new typhoon naming system has been put into service since January 1st, 2000, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) resolution made by the 31st session of Typhoon Committee meeting held in Manila, Philippines in December 1998. The new naming system has the numbering method (e.g. the first typhoon occurring in 2004 is numbered 0401) of typhoons occurring in the Western North Pacific and South China Sea region by a new set of 140 names divided into five groups with each containing 28 names. Each of the 14 Typhoon Committee members from the nations and district of the Western North Pacific and the South China Sea region provides 10 names. The WMO Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) based in Tokyo, Japan is responsible for naming the typhoons according to the arranged set of names. Each nation (and district) has their sole discretion in deciding whether to use the name for internal typhoon reporting.

The 140 typhoon names are extremely complicated and irregular including not only names of persons, but also nouns of categories such as animals, plants, astrology, places, mythological figures, jewelry, etc. The latest version of the international naming for typhoons is as shown in Table 2-1 and Table 2-2 contains the original meaning for each typhoon name. As you may see, “Mangkhut” comes from the list of Thailand.

So which names from the list below do you prefer, or do you have any better ideas?

International naming for typhoons occurring in the Western North Pacific and South China Sea (updated May 2017)

Meanings of typhoon names in the Western North Pacific and the South China Sea

source: Central Weather Bureau