New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: A category 5 cyclonic storm has been forecasted to make its landfall along the coastline of West Bengal and Odisha between May 26-27. Once formed, the cyclone will be named ‘Yaas’. Less than a week after India’s western coast along the Arabian Sea was devastated by cyclone Tauktae, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has suggested that once formed, Yaas will be as deadly as Amphan which was also formed in the Bay of Bengal in May last year.

Yaas, named by Oman as such, refers to a Jasmine-like tree that has a good fragrance. Amphan, named by Thailand in 2004 refers to sky whereas the cyclone Tauktae was named by Myanmar meaning 'gecko', a highly vocal lizard, in Burmese dialect.

So what goes behind the naming of a cyclone? Why ‘Yaas’, ‘Amphan’ and ‘Tauktae’ are called what they are called?

A rotational list of the names of cyclones is maintained by the Geneva-headquartered World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), with the names specific for each tropical zone. If a cyclone is especially deadly then its name is never used and is replaced by another name. WMO has 187 Member States and 6 Member Territories.

The six-member territories are called Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (RSMCs). Each of the six-member territories is mandated for issuing alerts and advisories about tropical cyclones and also their naming.

New Delhi-headquartered India Meteorological Department is one of the six RSMCs which issues tropical cyclone advisories to 13 member countries including Bangladesh, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and India itself.

Each name carries with itself the expected characteristics of the tropical cyclone, making it easy for concerned authorities to ramp up their preparations when a cyclone actually hits along the coastline.

In the last WMO meeting in September-2018, India Meteorological Department prepared a fresh list of names of cyclones with the names added by all thirteen member countries.

This list was adopted by WMO Countries in April-2020 for the region including the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the North Indian Ocean. The list has a total of 169 names at present which will be used on a rotational basis.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma