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al-BAIR-toe? BER-ril? Gas-TAWN? What’s up with those storm names?

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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?

Track Beryl with our interactive hurricane tracker

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:

Alberto al-BAIR-toe
Beryl BER-ril
Chris kris
Debby DEH-bee
Ernesto er-NES-toh
Florence FLOOR-ence
Gordon GOR-duhn
Helene heh-LEEN
Isaac EYE-zik
Joyce joyss
Kirk kurk
Leslie LEHZ-lee
Michael MY-kuhl
Nadine nay-DEEN
Oscar AHS-kur
Patty PAT-ee
Rafael rah-fah–ELL
Sandy SAN-dee
Tony TOH-nee
Valerie VAH-lur-ee
William WILL-yum

Patrick Rockey
NewsChannel 3 Chief Meteorologist

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