When did the practice of naming hurricanes begin?

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Dear Tom,
When did the practice of naming hurricanes begin?
— Leon J. Hoffman
Dear Leon,
Tropical storms and hurricanes are given names to ensure better communication between meteorologists and the public regarding the storms. Frequently, two or more storms may be active at the same time, and research has proved that naming storms reduces public confusion about which storm forecasters are referring to. Around 1950, the previously anonymous storms were named using a phonetic alphabet (Able, Baker, Charlie, etc.).
In 1953, the National Hurricane Center began naming storms for women, and this practice continued until 1979, when the World Meteorological Organization and the National Weather Service started using a list of alternating women’s and men’s names, a system still in use today.