This was originally posted in 2013:
Typhoon No. 4 is headed our way. The tropical storm, which is also known as Typhoon Leepi, is expected to reach southern Kyûshû early Friday morning.
Typhoon No. 3 which fizzled out just south of Kansai two weeks ago sparked a lot of discussion. Of interest to many Japanese was not how early the typhoon had arrived—they normally don't hit our shores until late summer—but rather the name of the storm: Typhoon Yagi (goat).
In Japan where typhoons are usually known by their numbers—something that can be confusing when trying to recall a typhoon of years past—most people were surprised to learn that the storms had names at all.
The second most common reaction was: "Who on earth would name a typhoon after a goat?"
Ever since the year 2000, all tropical storms originating in the northwest pacific or South China Sea have been given names. The names are supplied by the fourteen countries in the region affected by typhoon: Cambodia, China, North Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Micronesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam. The meaning of the names come from a variety of sources, from mythological gods and nature to the names of flowers or of boys and girls.
The ten names chosen by Japan in the current list are all constellations. Typhoon No.3 or Typhoon Yagi is actually Typhoon Capricornus (やぎ座, yagi-za). The last typhoon named by Japan was Typhoon Libra (てんびん座, tembin-za).
As for the name of this latest typhoon, Leepi, it apparently comes from the name of a waterfall in the south of Laos. Typhoon No.5 will be called Bebinca (pudding). You can thank the people of Macau for that one.
For more on typhoons visit the website of the Japan Meteorological Agency.
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This morning, Kyūshū will be hit by Typhoon No. 8, which is also known as Typhoon Francisco, a name that was supplied by the United States. Typhoon No. 9, which is expected to affect Okinawa and the southeastern coast of China, is called Lekima, the Vietnamese name for egg fruit. We are currently at numbers 42 and 43 of that list of 140 names. A few years back when we were near the end of the list, I thought that a new list of 140 names would be produced. Guess again. They have merely recycled through the list. If I am not mistaken, this is the third time we are going through the list as it takes about six years to use up all the names.