al-BAIR-toe? BER-ril? Gas-TAWN? What’s up with those storm names?
Hurricanes and tropical storms aren’t just a challenge to forecast. Sometimes they’re a challenge to pronounce! We often hear from viewers who complain that we are mispronouncing a name because they have an aunt/brother/cousin with the same name (pronounced differently). The best example: Tropical Storm Gaston. It wasn’t pronounced like Lake Gaston, but like the Beauty and the Beast villain. What’s up with that?
The job of choosing storm names belongs to the World Meteorological Organization. They have created six rotating lists of English, French and Spanish names, because those are the main languages spoken around the Atlantic hurricane basin, which includes the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. A storm is always pronounced just as it is in its native language.
Here’s a list of the 2012 storm names, along with how to pronounce them: