Tropical cyclones began receiving names in 1950 to make it easier for the public to know which particular storm warnings to follow. This is especially important during busy hurricane seasons when multiple storms develop at the same time.
The World Meteorological Organization creates the list of names to be used for hurricane season, and for the Atlantic season, which runs from June to November, there are six annual lists with 21 names each. After a list has been used, it repeats every seventh year — unless a specific name is retired and replaced with a new one.
Assigned names are often representative of the areas the storm may impact. While Hurricanes Rita, Mitch and Andrew hit American coasts, a typhoon named Ketsana hit Japan, and Ondoy hit the Philippines.