Ever wondered how cyclone 'Laila' that has wreaked havoc in coastal Andhra Pradesh got such a lyrical name? Pakistan may have the answer.
The name 'Laila' which means dark-haired beauty or night in Persian was suggested by Pakistan to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) which is tasked by the World Meteorological Organisation to track and name cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean, an IMD official said.
Meteorologists for easy identification and analysis of storm systems started the convention of naming cyclones and does now named as per the World Meteorological Organisation lay down the procedure.
Cyclones formed over the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea began to be named in 2004, he said.
IMD, as the Regional Specialised Meteorological Center, has the mandate to provide weather advisories to seven countries -- Bangladesh, the Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Thailand and Sri Lanka besides India.
It also asks these countries to suggest names for the cyclones, which are then listed in an alphabetical order of the names of the member countries, he said.
Sixty-four names have been suggested to provide a unique identification for forecast and warning, out of which 22 have been used so far. So according to the cycle, the name "Laila" for this cyclone was suggested by Pakistan.
The next cyclonic storm would be named "Bandu" drawn from the suggestions of Sri Lanka.
The main north Indian Ocean tropical season runs from May to November and Nargis was the first this season.
The convention of naming cyclones dates back to the early 20th century when an Australian forecaster named major storms after politicians he disliked.
While the US weather office started giving names to cyclones in 1953, the trend began in the sub-continent in 2004.
The names also enable forecasters to eliminate confusion over multiple systems active in any individual basin at the same time, the official said.
Each year, the names of particularly destructive storms are discarded and new names are chosen in their place.