Storm Alert: How Cyclone Nisarga Got Its Name And Other Facts

A storm currently brewing in the Arabian Sea is set to become a cyclone and make landfall tomorrow in coastal Maharashtra and Gujarat

V. Kumara Swamy Updated: Jun 2, 2020 17:43:22 IST
Storm Alert: How Cyclone Nisarga Got Its Name And Other Facts The calm before the storm, as cyclone Nisarga approaches Maharashtra (Photo: Twitter)

The storm named Nisarga is set to become a 'severe cyclone' with wind speeds hitting around 100 kilometers per hour. Whether it is Amphan,or Fani and Bulbul before that, cyclones after 2004 have been named as opposed to the ones that that hit India before 2004,such as the 1999 super cyclone of Odisha which is popularly identified by the year and the region it hit.

How are cyclones named?

1. The practice of naming storms in South Asia began only in 2004—all severe storms brewing in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea have been named ever since, without exception. The practice of naming cyclones came about quite late to South Asia, even though it was started in the US more than 70 years ago.

2. According to meteorological experts, identification of storms by giving them names has made it it easier for people to remember, rather than resorting to technical terms or the years in which they appear. The media can report the storm by its name and the communities that are likely to be affected can be alerted in time.

3. The Delhi-based Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) is responsible for monitoring the storms in the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the north Indian Ocean region. The members of this group are India, Iran, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

4. The country's names and their proposed names for cyclones are used sequentially. For instance, the first country according to the alphabetical order is Bangladesh, and its nominee, Nisarga, will appear on the first row of the column (see pic below). Incidentally, Nisarga is the first cyclone to be named from the new list that was released in April 2020. The list of names that came into effect in 2004 ended with Amphan being the final one.

nisarga-pic_060220040327.pngImage courtesy World Meteorological Department

5. The countries are asked to keep the proposed names short (the maximum length of the name should be eight letters or less) and ’neutral’. The nations are also asked not to use the names of political figures for this purpose, and suggest gender- and culture-sensitive names. A name already used cannot be repeated.

6. In keeping with the order and the sequence, the next cyclone, whenever it appears, will be named Gati (meaning speed). This name was nominated by India.


To know how 2019’s cyclone Bulbul was named, click here. You can also visit for more details.

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