Cyclone Hola: How Hola the destroyer got its name

Another cyclone's reign of terror over the Pacific has begun, as Cyclone Hola rips through Vanuatu.

Within days the long arm of the storm will reach out towards New Zealand, bringing with it ferocious winds and heavy rain.

It's the third cyclone to be unleashed upon us this year after Fehi and Gita left a trail of devastation - and experts have already named the next.

"You've had Gita, now you have Hola, so the next sort of cyclone must start with 'I' probably," The AM Show host Duncan Garner mused.

Appearing on The AM Show, NIWA weather forecaster Chris Brandolino explained how the cyclones get their names.

"Usually the names reflect the area they're in," Mr Brandolino says.

"So for example in the Northern Hemisphere you can have French names, you can have Spanish names, you can have names of different backgrounds."

There are reports Hola's gale-force winds have torn off roofs, collapsed houses and ripped down trees in Vanuatu.

Images posted to social media show the extent of the clean-up that face the islanders.

Names are used in order from predetermined lists once the storm hits the criteria for a cyclone classification.

"This is done by different agencies across the globe," Mr Brandolino says.

"For example in Australia... they have different lists for the Perth warning centre and the Queensland warning centre and the Darwin warning centre.

"Where it starts - where it's birthed, where it begins - it maintains that name even if it moves into different jurisdictions."

If the next tropical cyclone is named by Papua New Guinea, it will be named Ila.

If named by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, it will be named Ilsa.

If named by the Fiji Meteorological Service or the New Zealand MetService, it will be named Irene.