How are cyclones categorized, and how are they named?

By Ritesh|Updated : September 7th, 2022

Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWC) and Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (RSMCs) give names to cyclones that originate in all ocean basins worldwide. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) recently released a list of 169 names of future tropical cyclones that will appear in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

Categorization of Cyclones and Nomenclature

There are five TCWCs and six RSMCs worldwide, including the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Cyclone types include:

Based on the greatest sustained wind speed, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has categorized low-pressure systems in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

Type of Disturbance

Wind Speed

Low-pressure area

Less than 31 km per hour


31-49 km per hour

Deep depression

50-61 km per hour

Cyclonic storm

62-88 km per hour

Severe cyclonic storm

89-117 km per hour

Severe cyclonic storm

118-167 km per hour

Very severe cyclonic storm

168-221 km per hour

Super cyclonic storm

222 km per hour

Naming of cyclones:

  • Tropical cyclones are typically named following regional regulations.
  • Tropical cyclone names are given alphabetically and alternate between women's and men's names in the Atlantic and Southern Hemispheres (the Indian Ocean and South Pacific).
  • Nations adopted a new system of gender-neutral names for tropical cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean in 2000.
  • The names are listed alphabetically by nation.


How are cyclones categorized, and how are they named?

The National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) of the WMO members in a particular region typically suggest the terminology, which is then approved by the appropriate regional tropical cyclone authorities at their annual/biennial meetings.


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