The World Meteorological Organization is in charge of assigning names to tropical storms that originate in the Atlantic Ocean and reach a sustained wind speed of 39 miles per hour. Any storm that reaches a sustained wind speed of 74 miles per hour is called a "hurricane". When a storm becomes a hurricane it retains the name that it was given as a tropical storm. The World Meteorological Organization has six lists of storm names which are recycled every six years. The name lists for 2005 through 2014 are shown here.
Tropical Storms are Named Alphabetically
The first tropical storm that attains a sustained wind speed of at least 39 miles per hour in a calendar year is given the name that begins with an "A" from the appropriate list above. The second storm is given the name that begins with a "B". Naming progresses through the year with names assigned in alphabetical order.
Tropical Storm Name Lists are Recycled
You can see that the name list from 2006 is identical to the list that will be used in 2012. This shows how the name lists are recycled every six years.
However, if you compare the name list from 2005 to the 2011 name list you will see that Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma were not reused in 2011. These five storms were so deadly and damaging that the World Meteorological Organization decided that reuse of their names would be insensitive. Their names were permanently retired from use.
Tropical storms in other basins such as the eastern and western Pacific Ocean are also given names. Name lists for these storms have been compiled by the National Hurricane Center and can be viewed on their website.