Last name on list forms in the Atlantic as active hurricane season continues


(WJHL)- Tropical Storm Wilfred formed in the eastern Atlantic late Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is about 5-7 days away from the Caribbean if it were to cause any impacts and is too early to say if it’s a concern for the U.S.

Wilfred is the last on the list of names used for naming tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic basin.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has 6 pre-set lists of names that are rotated to help keep track of the storms. The letters Q, U, X, Y and Z aren’t used. Traditionally, a storm is retired if it is costly or deadly and gets replaced before the list is reused again.

But what happens when we run out of names? We turn to the Greek alphabet. The only other year this happened was in 2005. There was a record 28 named storms that year and we reached “Zeta” in the Greek alphabet. After the season it was later determined that another storm formed in the middle of the Atlantic; it was “unnamed.”

The WMO says it isn’t practical for a name on the Greek list to be retired. Instead, if there’s a significant storm for the rest of the season with a Greek name it will go in the history books as the name, the year and some notes.

The 2020 hurricane season continues to outpace the 2005 season by a couple weeks. The season officially continues for another 6 weeks.

Stay with Storm Team 11 as our staff of meteorologists watches the tropics.

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