How are cyclones categorized and how are they named?

Categories of cyclones:

Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), classified the low-pressure systems in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea on the basis of maximum sustained wind speed.

Type of disturbance

Wind speed

Low-pressure area

Less than 31 km per hour


31-49 km per hour

Deep depression

50-61 km per hour

Cyclonic storm

62-88 km per hour

Severe cyclonic storm

89-117 km per hour

Severe cyclonic storm

118-167 km per hour

Very severe cyclonic storm

168-221 km per hour

Super cyclonic storm

222 km per hour and higher

Naming of cyclones:

  • Weather forecasters give each tropical cyclone a name to avoid confusion. In general, tropical cyclones are named according to the rules at regional level.
  • In the Atlantic and in the Southern hemisphere (Indian ocean and South Pacific), tropical cyclones receive names in alphabetical order, and women and men’s names are alternated. Nations in the Northern Indian ocean began using a new system for naming tropical cyclones in 2000; the names are listed alphabetically country wise, and are neutral gender wise.
  • The common rule is that the name list is proposed by the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of WMO Members of a specific region, and approved by the respective tropical cyclone regional bodies at their annual/biennual sessions. 

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