Next year, don’t be surprised if you hear Cable News Network and BBC World anchors uttering the words “Bilis,” “Hagibis” and “Malakas” when presenting their weather forecasts.
Such words are now official names for tropical cyclones as adopted by the International Typhoon Committee for the western and north Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.
Dr. Bernardo Soriano, chief of the atmospheric, geophysical and space sciences branch of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said a new set of international typhoon names has been adopted by the committee as presented by a number of countries.
In the past, tropical cyclones were identified internationally by American-sounding names coined by US weather forecasters or numbers in the case of Japan, depending on which one is picked first.
Soriano said that starting Jan. 1, 2001, the world’s countries and worldwide news media would be using the cyclones’ universal names in place of the old US and Japan methods.
The Philippines contributed 10 names to the list: Bilis (Speed), Danas (Experience), Hagupit (Lash), Lupit (Cruelty), Talas (Sharpness), Cimaron (Wild ox), Hagibis (Swift), Imbudo (Funnel), Malakas (Strong) and Talim (Cutting edge).
Other countries such as Japan contributed names such as Ugagi (Rabbit), Kammuri (Ground), Tembin (Whistling device) and Koppu (Cat).
On the other hand, the US contributed names being used in its territories including Palau and the Marshall Islands. They include Maria, Francisco, Roke and Etau.
Soriano, however, said individual countries could still use local names in identifying typhoons as has been the practice, particularly in the Philippines, for decades.
This means that aside from Bilis and Hagibis, typhoons “Bining” and “Dading” would still be very much around.
Soriano said a total of 28 names were included in the list per year for five years starting in 2001.
The scheme was supposed to have been started last Jan. 1, but delays in the issuance of the list for media dissemination forced the committee to move it to next year.
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