‘Thane' is on everyone's lips in the city for the past few days. The very severe cyclonic storm, which is likely to bring heavy rainfall over Chennai, was christened as per the naming convention of the Indian Meteorological Department. ‘Thane' was suggested by Myanmar.
Officials said that the practice of naming tropical cyclones over the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea started in September 2004. The department received a list of names from eight countries — Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Thailand and Sri Lanka — which are World Meteorological Organisation panel members.
The practice helped in easy identification of the cyclones. However, it was decided that they would not be named after any person. Y. E. A. Raj, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Chennai, said of the 64 names in the list, 28 have been used for unique identification for forecast. Earlier, only countries like the U.S. and Japan had the practice of referring hurricanes and typhoons by names. “We used to refer the systems by the region that it crossed such as Pamban cyclone.” The names suggested must be short and should not have any provocative meaning, he said. The next cyclonic storm would be named ‘Murjaan', as suggested by Oman.