The American Meteorological Society has decided that the hurricanes in the 2012 hurricane season can be named subject to a five hundred dollar fee.
"We are trying to save up for a new supercomputer," said meteorologist Katrina Gomez. "Up until now, we've just used the names of the people in the office. However, we thought that we could raise some cash by letting people purchase the names."
The names for next year's hurricanes are already up for sale. There are usually between ten and eighteen hurricanes a year, with 2012 expected to have a bumper crop approaching the maximum.
"We are going to need twenty-five names," said Gomez. "We always have twenty-five names. Normally, we don't use them all. There's always the chance that we do though. It's better to have them ahead of time, instead of suddenly needing them and being unable to think of a name. We're a bit like rain, not very good under high pressure. Haha."
It is not expected that companies will be buying the names, due to the damage that some of the hurricanes can cause.
"I don't think companies would like to have their name forever associated with a major disaster," said Gomez. "Can you imagine the PR disaster if you hear on the news 'Hurricane McDonald's has destroyed ten million homes'?"
The American Meteorological Society have said that they will not take company names unless requested by that company.
"This is to avoid companies supplying competitor's names for negative publicity," said Gomez. "Hopefully this will encourage ordinary people to apply rather than companies."
There has already been a sizable uptake for the naming of the storms, and the first hurricane of 2012 will be called Britney, whilst the second will be Jamal.