In 2015, five new names have been added to the name list for tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific and the South China Sea. They are "Barijat", "Mun", "Lan", "Bailu" and "Jongdari", replacing the old names "Utor", "Fitow", "Vicente", "Haiyan" and "Sonamu" respectively. The meaning of these five new names and the proposed countries/regions are as follows:
||Marshallese for "coastal areas impacted by waves/winds"
||Yapese for month of June
||Marshallese for "storm"
||A white deer, which stands for auspiciousness in Chinese language
The new names were endorsed by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)/World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Typhoon Committee at its 47th session in Bangkok in February 2015.
According to the practice of the Typhoon Committee, a country or region which has suffered serious human casualties and economic losses from a tropical cyclone may propose to remove its name from the name list. In August 2013, Super Typhoon Utor affected the Philippines, causing at least 11 casualties and evacuation of 830000 people. Moreover, 22 people were killed and more than 8 million residents were impacted by flooding in Guangdong during the passage of Utor. In September 2013, Severe Typhoon Fitow made landfall in Fujian. Five people were killed, four others were missing, around 2300 houses collapsed and over 180000 hectares of farmland were inundated with direct economic loss exceeding RMB 4.7 billion. In November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc in the central Philippines. Over 6000 people were killed, around 1800 people were reported missing, 28000 people were injured and the direct economic loss exceeded 10.3 billion Pesos (around HK$1.9 billion). In Hainan Island, Guangxi and Guangdong, seven people were killed, four people were reported missing, more than 9400 houses collapsed or were damaged, and over 2.95 million hectares of farmland were destroyed, with direct economic loss exceeding RMB 4.4 billion. Haiyan also caused at least 13 deaths in Vietnam.
Besides, as the English pronunciation of Sonamu is similar to "tsunami" and Vicente appears in both the name lists for tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific and eastern North Pacific, these two names have also been replaced to avoid confusion.
The public, aviation and shipping sectors and the media are requested to take note of the updated tropical cyclone names and to take appropriate action. The updated list of tropical cyclone names and their corresponding meanings is available at the Hong Kong Observatory website at www.weather.gov.hk/informtc/sound/tcname2015e.htm.