Here’s How Cyclone Tauktae Got Its Name

The naming of cyclones in the Indian Ocean began in 2000 and a formula was agreed upon in 2004.

2 min read
Rough sea weather conditions due to formation of Cyclone Tauktae in the Arabian Sea, in Thiruvananthapuram, on 15 May 2021.

While Cyclone Tauktae on Monday, 17 May, intensified into a “very sever cyclonic storm” and is expected to hit the Gujarat coast on 19 May, the peculiar name of the storm has garnered attentions.

Why Is It Called ‘Tauktae’?

‘Tauktae’, which is currently brewing over in the East Central Arabian Sea, means “gecko”, or a lizard, and was termed by India’s neighbour Myanmar. The name was accorded from a list formulated by a group of countries.

How Are Cyclones Named?

Tropical cyclones are named to help the scientific community and disaster managers to identify cyclones, create awareness and effectively disseminate warnings to wider audiences.

The World Meteorological Organisation and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific had, at its 27th Session held in 2000, agreed to assign names to the tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.

The naming of cyclones in the Indian Ocean began in 2000 and a formula was agreed upon in 2004. The next cyclones will be named Yaas (Oman).

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has been mandated with the duty to name cyclones that develop over the North Indian ocean, including Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, by following a standard procedure.

As suggested by the 13 countries, IMD released a list of cyclone names in April 2020. The names like Arnab, Nisarga, Aag, Vyom, Azar, Prabhanjan, Tej, Gati, Lulu, among 160 others, were listed.

The new list included the last name from the previous list 'Amphan' as it remained unused at the time of release. After 'Amphan', 'Nisarga' was picked for the ensuing cyclone.

According to the IMD, the names should be gender, politics, religion and culture neutral, not hurt sentiments, not be offensive, be short, easy to pronounce.

If the storm causes a large number of deaths or damages, any member of the WMO’s hurricane, typhoon and tropical cyclone committees can request the withdrawal of the cyclone’s name from the naming list. A replacement name is then submitted to the committee concerned and voted upon.

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