April 20, 2021

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The names of the storms are running out, now what?


September is barely beginning, which is the most active month of the hurricane season and they have already formed 16 tropical systems in the Atlantic, of which 15 were named because they reached the category of tropical storm.

Typically, an average hurricane season ends with 12 tropical storms, six hurricanes and two intense hurricanes, so at the moment we are well above the norm in terms of number of named storms.

Climatologically speaking, during this month four tropical storms, two hurricanes and one intense. If this happened this year, we would reach 19 storms named in October when there will still be two months until the end of the hurricane season.

At that time there would be two names left to exhaust the list used by the National Hurricane Center (CNH) in Miami to name the tropical storms and hurricanes that form in the Atlantic.

The names

The CNH started in 1953 to give names to tropical cyclones in the Atlantic to make the systems easier for the agency and the public to identify. At that time only women’s names were used. Before that date, hurricanes were named in the Caribbean by the name of the saint of the day they hit. Examples of this are San Felipe II (1928) and San Ciprián (1932)

In 1979 the names began to alternate between masculine and feminine. There are six lists of names that repeat every six years.

“The six lists are used in rotation and recycled every six years, that is, the 2019 list will be used again in 2025. The only time there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or expensive that the use future of your name in a different storm would be inappropriate for sensitivity reasons. If that happens, at an annual meeting of the committee of the World Meteorological Organization (convened mainly to discuss many other issues) the offending name is removed from the list and another name is selected to replace it ”, explains the CNH page

What Happens After Storm 21?

In the extremely active 2005 hurricane season, by mid-October the powerful Hurricane Wilma was formed. This was the 21st system named that year and after it six other systems were formed that required naming.

For them the Greek alphabet was used. After Wilma came the Alpha storm.

The Greek alphabet has 24 letters.

If this year we exhaust the list of names of tropical storms again, the Greek alphabet will be used to identify the rest of the storms.

2020 names (Unused as of September 5 in bold)

Arthur

Bertha

Cristobal

Dolly

Edouard

Fay

Gonzalo

Hanna

Isaias

Josephine

Kyle

Laura

Framework

Nana

Omar

Paulette

Rene

Sally

Teddy

Vicky

Wilfred

Greek alphabet

alpha

beta

gamma

delta

epsilon

zeta

eta

theta

iota

kappa

lambda

mu

wildebeest

xi

omicron

pi

rho

sigma

tau

upsilon

phi

chi

psi

omega



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