Cyclone Mora, the recent most cyclone to hit Bangladesh was formed after heavy rains in Sri Lanka that caused floods and landslides killing at least 180 people there.
In Bangladesh it has already crossed the coast of Chittagong, showing signs of weakening. Six people have been reportedly killed so far by the cyclone and the damages are yet to be measured.
Also read: 6 dead as Mora shows signs of weakening
People around the country are expressing relief at the low count of loss of life and the news of reduced wind and rainfall.
Now, the respite gives reemergence to a primary question, why and how is the cyclone named?
Read more: Cyclone Mora: Bad weather to linger today
Born in Sri Lanka, cyclone Mora got its name from Thailand. “Mora” is a Thai word, which means “star of the sea” or “sea star”.
So, how is it that it was named by Thailand and not Sri Lanka or Bangladesh? And who decides who should give names to cyclones and why?
According to Hurricane Research Division, tropical cyclones are named to provide ease of communication between forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts, watches, and warnings. A name helps people and the media to identify each cyclone and become more aware of its implications. Since the storms can often last a week or longer and that more than one can occur in the same basin at the same time, names can reduce the confusion about what storm is being described.
Read more: 5 devastating cyclones in Bangladesh
The North Indian Ocean region tropical cyclones have been named since 2006. Bangladesh falls in this region. The Southwest Indian Ocean tropical cyclones were first named during 1960-61.
Eight countries in the North Indian Ocean region - Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand - have contributed a set of names which are assigned sequentially for whenever a cyclonic storm develops. They came up with a list of 64 names - eight names from each country - for upcoming cyclones.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a Geneva-based agency of the United Nations (UN), maintains the lists of given names.
The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) also has the list of names contributed by these countries for cyclones that form over the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.
Every time a cyclone forms, a name is picked in order of submission by these countries.
Onil, Ogni, Nisha, Giri, Chapala, Ockhi and Fani are the cyclone names given by Bangladesh.
The Indian names include Agni, Akash, Bijli, Jal, Lehar, Megh, Sagar and Vayu while Hibaru, Gonu, Keila, Madi, Roanu, Mekunu and Hikaa are named by Maldives.
Pyarr, Yemyin, Phyan, Thane, Nanauk, Kyant, Daye and Kyarr are all Myanmarese names while Fanoos, Laila, Nilam, Vardah, Titli and Bulbul are Pakistani names.
The last cyclone named by Thailand was Phailin. In 2013 it hit Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast of India.
Cyclonic storm “Roanu” that hit Bangladesh in May last year was named by Maldives. The Maldivian word means “coir rope”.