Four new names for tropical cyclones have replaced the names of previous typhoons which caused serious damage, with one cute Japanese name winning adoration from some.

The international Typhoon Committee has a convention of removing the names of tropical cyclones which cause human casualties and economic losses in the western North Pacific and the South China Sea. The four new names from four countries were endorsed in February.

The Hong Kong government announced the new names in a release on Wednesday, soon after the first typhoon of the year.

koppu ursa minor
Typhoon Koppu; Ursa Minor. Photo: Flickr/NASA, Wikimedia Commons.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese media have focused their coverage on the Japanese suggestion of “Koguma,” in early May.

Koguma was named after the constellation Ursa Minor which contains the North Star Polaris. It translates to “little bear” in English.

“In the future people may hear from the news that ‘typhoon little bear is striking,’” Taiwan’s Apple Daily reported at the time. Many other outlets also picked up the news, noting “it will sound quite cute.”

Koguma will replace Koppu, the super typhoon that hit the Philippines in October 2015.

The other three names endorsed included Malaysian name “Cempaka,” which is a plant known for its fragrant flowers.

Cempaka. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Cempaka will replace Melor, a severe typhoon that hit the Philippines in December 2015. Koppu and Melor caused at least 27 deaths and the evacuation of around 1 million people in total.

Micronesia contributed “Saudel,” the name of the legendary Pohnpei Chief Soudelor’s trusted guard or soldier.

It will replace Soudelor, a severe typhoon which killed at least six people and caused four to go missing in Taiwan in August 2015. In the Chinese provinces of Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Anhui, 21 were killed, five went missing, and about 3.4 million people were affected.

“Surigae,” the name of a type of eagle, was proposed by North Korea. It will replace Mujigae, a severe typhoon in October 2015 that affected at least 4.6 million people in Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, with direct economic loss amounting to over HK$13.76 billion.

Districts in Foshan and Guangzhou were also affected by tornadoes created by the circulation of Mujigae, causing at least six deaths and over 200 injuries.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.