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Hurricane season 2020 has now used entire list of tropical cyclone names

The Greek alphabet is now being used for only the second time in history
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 2:51 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The 2020 hurricane season has been an active one, with the season even outpacing the hyperactive and historic 2005 season by about three weeks. Tropical Storm Wilfred formed in the Atlantic basin Friday morning, using up the last name on the 2020 name list. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has now moved to using the Greek alphabet for only the second time in history. It was also used during the 2005 season, that concluded with Tropical Storm Zeta forming on December 28, 2005.

These are the names used as of 9-18-20.
These are the names used as of 9-18-20.(KALB)

Shortly after Wilfred was named, the NHC also named Subtropical Storm Alpha in the far eastern Atlantic. In an update Friday morning the NHC said the area of low pressure had developed enough tropical characteristic to be considered a subtropical storm. A subtropical cyclone is a weather system that has some characteristics of both a tropical and an extratropical cyclone. The busy season is likely to continue, with several more areas of interest in the Atlantic basin. Tropical Depression Twenty-Two in the Gulf of Mexico could become “Beta” by the end of this week.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is responsible for creating the list of names used each hurricane season for each basin. The Atlantic basin for example, will use a different list of names than the Pacific basin. In the Atlantic, there is a list of names for each of six years, with the list repeating every seventh year. However, a hurricane’s name will be retired from the list and replaced with a new one if the storm is particuarly deadly or costly. The name “Katrina” for example, will never be used again in the Atlantic basin. It’s possible that “Laura” could be retired at the conclusion of this season.

Since 1954, 89 storm names have been retired in the Atlantic. Now, the WMO is having to reevaluate what should happen if a storm named with a Greek letter needs to be retired. In a news release published online Tuesday the WMO said, "If a significant storm designated by a letter of the Greek Alphabet, in either the Atlantic or 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 particular letter in the Greek Alphabet would continue to be available for use in the future”.

Here is the full Greek alphabet that can be used for tropical cyclone names if needed:

  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gamma
  • Delta
  • Epsilon
  • Zeta
  • Eta
  • Theta
  • Iota
  • Kappa
  • Lambda
  • Mu
  • Nu
  • Xi
  • Omicron
  • Pi
  • Rho
  • Sigma
  • Tau
  • Upsilon
  • Phi
  • Chi
  • Psi
  • Omega

Click here to report a typo.

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