A recent activity with an already busy hurricane season in 2020 now means that there is only one name left on the official list – but there are still several weeks left.
As of Tuesday, there have been 20 named storms out of a list of 21 names where only “Wilfred” is left.
The hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30, but September historically produces the most tropical activity in the Atlantic basin. The currently named storms have each broken records for how early they formed for their respective letters, and continued a trend in 2020 during the Atlantic hurricane season.
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Monday we got the storms “T” – and “V” – Teddy and Vicky – with one more to go until we got to the end of the list.
With several weeks left, what happens if we run out of names?
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), when all 21 names are completed, “further storms will take names from the Greek alphabet.”
The names are given to storms by an international committee of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The only time the Greek alphabet has been used for storm names was back in 2005, when we had a total of 28 named storms, including the historic hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
According to the WMO, “the National Hurricane Center had to use the Greek alphabet to name a tropical cyclone when the record-breaking Alpha was formed” in October 2005.
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The other Greek alphabet names used that year were Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon and Zeta.
Another fact is that if a storm is particularly deadly or catastrophic, the name will be withdrawn and replaced by the WMO.
For example, you will never see a hurricane Katrina again.
However, it should be noted that in 2006, as the Greek alphabet is not used often enough and no changes have been proposed in the foreseeable future, the WMO decided that it would not be practical to withdraw any of these rare names in hurricane history.
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It therefore decided that if a significant storm designated by a letter of the Greek alphabet in either the Atlantic or the Eastern North Pacific Basin was considered worthy of being “retired”, it would be included in the list of retired names with the year of occurrence and other details, but that the special letter of the Greek alphabet will continue to be available for use in the future, ”states WMO.
According to the NHC, hurricane names are categorized into six lists used in rotation and cycled every six years, so the list of names in 2019 will be used again in 2025.
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Forecasts from the NHC said Monday that they issued advice on five tropical systems across the Atlantic basin.
“This sets the record for most tropical cyclones in that basin at one time, last set in September 1971,” the NHC tweeted.
NOAA forecasts now call for up to 25 named storms this season with winds of 39 km / h or higher; of these, seven to ten could become hurricanes. Among these hurricanes, three to six will be large, classified as categories 3, 4 and 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher.
That is well above an average year. Based on data from 1981 to 2010, there are 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
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So far this year, there have been 20 named storms, including seven hurricanes, including one major hurricane.
Forecasts from the NHC said Tuesday that another area of disturbed weather, located a few hundred miles south-southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands, has a 70% chance of developing into a tropical depression over the next five days.