Is your name on this year’s Atlantic and Pacific hurricane list? Check 2024’s lists here

The Atlantic and Pacific Ocean hurricane seasons started within the last month, and although both seasons don’t typically peak until later in the summer, an early-season hurricane isn’t out of the question.

That’s especially true this year, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasting an 85% chance of an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic. NOAA predicts there will be 17 to 25 named storms in the Atlantic, with eight to 13 becoming hurricanes and four to seven becoming Category 3 or stronger.

However, inversely, NOAA also forecasts a below-average year for the Central Pacific, with a 50% chance of seeing a below-average number of tropical cyclones. The Central Pacific typically sees four to five storms per year.

Washington rarely experiences hurricanes. The last major offshore storm to slam the Evergreen State’s coast was extratropical cyclone Freda, which made landfall in northwest Washington in 1962.

So, if Washington doesn’t have to worry too much about getting hit by a hurricane, what is there to care about for Washingtonians?

Every storm that becomes a hurricane is named to avoid confusion if multiple storms happen simultaneously. Name lists are recycled every six years, but names can be retired if a storm is particularly strong or damaging, such as Katrina in 2005 or Harvey in 2017.

NOAA oversees the naming lists used for both Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific hurricanes and tropical storms. Check if your name is on one of this year’s lists:

Atlantic names

  • Alberto

  • Beryl

  • Chris

  • Debby

  • Ernesto

  • Francine

  • Gordon

  • Helene

  • Isaac

  • Joyce

  • Kirk

  • Leslie

  • Milton

  • Nadine

  • Oscar

  • Patty

  • Rafael

  • Sara

  • Tony

  • Valerie

  • William

Eastern North Pacific names

  • Aletta

  • Bud

  • Carlotta

  • Daniel

  • Emilia

  • Fabio

  • Gilma

  • Hector

  • Ileana

  • John

  • Kristy

  • Lane

  • Miriam

  • Norman

  • Olivia

  • Paul

  • Rosa

  • Sergio

  • Tara

  • Vicente

  • Willa

  • Xavier

  • Yolanda

  • Zeke

Why doesn’t Washington get hit by hurricanes?

Although it is not impossible for tropical storms to form in the Pacific Northwest, it is quite rare.

Mary Butwin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, previously told McClatchy News the primary reason the Pacific Northwest doesn’t get hurricanes is because the storms need warm water for energy.

In order for a hurricane to form, surface-level sea temperatures have to be at least 79 degrees, according to the Weather Service. The ocean waters along the West Coast are typically a crisp 50 to 65 degrees.

Cold water persists on the western coast because of the North Pacific Gyre, an extensive rotating water system with smaller rotating systems within it. The North Pacific Gyre pulls cold water from Alaska which then pushed westward as it collides with warmer water from the North Equatorial Current and flows across the Pacific until it reaches near the east coasts of Asia.

In 1975, a nameless hurricane formed from the remnants of Hurricane Ilsa northeast of Hawai’i. The storm became the farthest-ever north Pacific hurricane and came close to the coast of Alaska, but it failed to make landfall after colliding with a cold front and falling apart.