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U.S. National Hurricane Centre forecasters take a light-hearted look at the coming season

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 12:45 PM - You'd need to put two-and-two together, but it seems the forecasters at the National Hurricane Centre (NHS) in the United States are having a bit of fun with the naming lists.

The Pacific tropical storm season begins on May 15, with the Atlantic season following suit on June 1, so meteorologists have been slowly turning their attention to those areas, with already a 50 per cent chance of a tropical storm forming off the Mexican coast.

Take a look at the second name from the bottom of the centre column of this list of 2014 Atlantic hurricane names:

'Marco' is a pretty common name, so it's innocuous so far.

Now have a look at which tropical storm will start with a 'P' in the Pacific this year:

Yep. The NHS is having some well-played fun with wordplay with the hurricane name lists.

And this large-scale game will come about again in 2020. The NHS recycles hurricane names over six years, a practice begun in 1953, so 'Marco Polo' may have been around for decades. Up until 1979, only female names populated the lists, before a mixture of male and female names was devised.

Sometimes a season is so prolific, the number of named storms is more than the alphabetical list can accommodate.

In that case, storms are named after letters of the Greek alphabet, and in 2005, two storms formed late in the season and lasted for a few days into 2006, leading to a stream of increasingly exasperated bulletins from the usually cool professionals at the NHC.

RELATED: The eight deadliest Atlantic hurricanes.

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