Hurricanes and tropical storms were identified by the phonetic alphabet (Able-Baker-Charlie-etc.) from 1950-52. In 1953 the U.S. Weather Bureau switched to using women's names. In 1979, the official naming system added men's names to the mix.
It is probably not true that the names are derived from a secret drinking game at the weathercasters' annual convention.
According to the American Metrological Society's Glossary of Meteorology, "It should be noted that the Carib god 'Hurican' was derived from the Mayan god 'Hurakan', one of their creator gods, who blew his breath across the Chaotic water and brought forth dry land and later destroyed the men of wood with a great storm and flood."
The heat released by a hurricane is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes.
In 1990, the entire human race used energy at a rate less than 20 percent of the power of a hurricane.
The first person to name hurricanes was an Australian weathercaster. He named them after politicians he didn't like.
Herbert Saffir is a structural engineer in Coral Gables, Fla., who developed a way to measure the impact of hurricanes on buildings. Robert Simpson, was director of the National Hurricane Center in the 1970s and expanded on Saffir's scale.
Sources: National Hurricane Center, American Metrological Society, South Florida Sun-Sentinel