Hurricanes have been churning in the Atlantic Basin for eons, but it wasn't until 1950 that any system of naming tropical storms was put into practice.
Naming storms made them easier to identify and track, especially when more than one was prowling the waters, and during World War II military forecasters informally would affix women's names to storms.
Yet the idea took awhile to catch on.In 1950, the U.S. government starting using phoenetic labels for storms -- Able, Baker, Charlie, etc. -- and then abandoned that pratice in favor of female names in 1953.
The very first female name used was "Alice;" Ralph Kramden would have been proud.
For the 1979 season, the female-only practice was scrapped, and on July 9 "Bob" became the first manly man storm.
Today the naming has a Basin-wide flavor, with the names approved by the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization. Since the basin includes the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, and hurricanes can affect several nations, the storm names French, Spanish, Dutch and English influences.
Here is the name list for 2010. ("Agatha" was a Pacific storm, by the way.)