Naming A Cyclone “Fani” – How Is It Done?

About Cyclone Fani India
About Cyclone Fani India

The Cyclone ‘Fani’ which has started its journey from South-East Bay of Bengal has finally made a landfall in Odisha after more than 10 days at sea.

How Fani Got Its Name?

  • Historically, the names of certain cyclones get registered in the memory of people because of their destructiveness and the vast media coverage.
  • The HudHud cyclone in 2014, Ockhi in 2017, Titli and Gaja in 2018 are some examples.
  • In general, tropical cyclones were not named. The naming began with the Hurricanes in the Atlantic with the US adopting a naming system.
  • The naming system for tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean began in 2004.
  • Eight countries of the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea region agreed upon a rotating naming system for cyclones occurring in these seas.
  • The eight countries are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Oman, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
  • All these are members of the group WMO/ESCAP.
  • The countries submitted their names which are arranged in an 8×8 table.
  • Each country is allocated a row and eight names are arranged and a total of 64 names will be present in the table.
  • The naming of the cyclone goes column-wise.
  • The name ‘Fani’ was proposed by Bangladesh.
  • The next name will be named ‘Vayu’ which is proposed by India.
  • Once the names in the list are exhausted, the eight countries will propose a fresh set of names.

Difference with Atlantic Naming

  • Unlike the Naming list of Hurricanes in the Atlantic which is rotated every few years, the name list of cyclones in the Indian Ocean is new every time.
  • But, there are some exceptions made to the Atlantic list.
  • Hurricanes that cause excessive death and destruction are retired from the list and are replaced by new ones.

Why Name Cyclones At All?

  • Naming a cyclone makes it easy to report it in the media.
  • Also, technical terms and numbers which were used earlier are difficult to communicate.


  • As per the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the general public can propose a name to be included in the list.
  • But, it must follow certain criteria – the proposed name should not be culturally sensitive; it should be easy to communicate when broadcasted; and it should not have an inflammatory meaning.

Tropical Cyclones

  • Tropical Cyclones are massive rotating storm systems.
  • They have a low-pressure centre called the ‘eye of the storm’.
  • The winds in a tropical cyclone blow in a counterclockwise direction in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.
  • Coriolis force plays an important role in the formation of these cyclones.
  • Thus, these cyclones are formed in latitudes between 10 and 30 degree N and S of the equator.
  • They are not formed near the equator as the Coriolis force is zero at the equator.
  • A depression first emerges in the sea and then transforms into a tropical cyclone.
  • It then moves towards the land where there is low pressure and makes landfall.
  • Tropical cyclones bring with them destructive forces – high-speed winds, sea surge, and torrential rains.

Categories of Cyclones:

  • The IMD uses seven different classifications for cyclones within the Indian Ocean.
  • They are based on the sustained wind speeds of the storm system.
  • The classifications are as below:
Categories of Cyclones
Categories of Cyclones
  • Fani’ was classified as Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm. Second highest category classification.

East Coast and Cyclones:

  • In India, April to December is the cyclone season and a large number of cyclones occur between September and December.
  • The east coast of India is majorly impacted by the cyclones.
  • Especially Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha bear the brunt of cyclones occurring in the Bay of Bengal.
  • On the west coast, the Arabian Sea rarely generates cyclones.
  • This is majorly due to the wind pattern on the Bay of Bengal and a flatter topography that could not deflect a storm system on to the sea like the Western Ghats on the West Coast.

Also Read:


  • Cyclones have been a major disaster causing weather events for India since time immemorial.
  • But the amount of disaster that the Cyclones have increased by manifold due to rising population and the infrastructure that is in the line of sight of a storm.
  • Climate change due to rising temperatures is becoming an important reason for the increase in the intensity of these storms.
  • There is no way to stop them from occurring, but governments can take precautionary measures with advanced warning systems to avoid any loss of life.
  • Since, the deadly tropical cyclone of 1999 which left a trail of death and devastation, India has come a long way in saving lives and minimizing the death toll.
  • Now, governments have to improve upon post-disaster response in the speedy clearing of debris and allowing the public to pursue their livelihoods at the earliest.
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