The task of naming typhoons falls to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which uses names sequentially from a list suggested by different countries. But when typhoons enter the Philippines’ area of responsibility for storm monitoring, they are assigned a different name by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the national meteorological agency. It has issued its own list each year since it was established in 1972. Thus, Mangkhut becomes Ompong in the Philippines.
Local names, the agency reasons, are easier to remember in rural areas and make the storms feel more immediate, increasing the chance that people will take them seriously.
The Philippine agency also assigns names to tropical depressions, which are not named internationally, because even though they are less powerful than typhoons, they can still cause significant damage.
The internationally recognized name for the typhoon — “Mangkhut” — is the Thai word for mangosteen, a tropical, reddish-purple fruit native to Southeast Asia.