Ask Storm Team 11: Now on to the Greek alphabet


Tuesday’s Ask Storm Team 11 question was “Why did we start over on hurricane names?”

Pretty much since the beginning, it’s been a very active season in the Atlantic with storms forming at record pace.

Last week, we ran out of names on the pre-set list for this year made by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). There are six lists and they rotate every 6 years. The letters Q, U, X, Y and Z aren’t used.

The current rule is if we run out of names, we turn to the Greek alphabet. Naming storms makes it easier to keep track and record.

Unlike traditional names, the Greek letters aren’t retired at this time. Instead, according to the WMO, if a storm is costly or deadly, or otherwise would be retired, the name, year of occurrence and other significant details would be included in the record books. However, the letter would still be used in the future if we go into the Greek alphabet again based on current rules.

How common is it to go into the Greek alphabet? It’s only happened one other time. That was in 2005 when there were 28 named storms. 

Hurricane season officially ends November 30 and we are a few weeks ahead of 2005. So at this rate, we may be close to another record this year.

Have a question for Storm Team 11? Click here to submit!

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