Atlantic hurricane name changes

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Atlantic hurricane name changes

On March 17, the World Meteorological Organization’s Hurricane Committee announced the retirement of the names Dorian (2019) and Laura, Eta and Iota (2020) from the existing rotating lists of Atlantic names, because of the death and destruction they had caused. It was also decided that the Greek alphabet would not be used in the future because its use had created confusion amongst the public.


Members of the Hurricane Committee, who are from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, also discussed the formation of named storms prior to the official start of the hurricane season on 1 June. The committee agreed that there will be no changes to the official start date of the Atlantic hurricane season in 2021.


Hurricanes and the Greek alphabet:

The annual English-alphabet name list has been exhausted on two occasions during the past 15 years, and it is likely that this will occur again in the future.

Hurricane Committee members agreed to create a supplemental list of names A-Z (excluding Q, U, as well as X, Y, and Z on the Atlantic list) that would be used in lieu of the Greek alphabet when the standard list is exhausted in a given season. Names on this list could be retired and replaced, when required. Names beginning with Q, U, X, Y and Z are still not common enough or easily understood in local languages to be slotted into the rotating lists.

Although the naming convention is only a small part of the Hurricane Committee’s work, it attracts the most public attention. Atlantic tropical cyclone name lists repeat every six years unless a storm is so deadly or costly that its name is retired from future lists. In total, 93 names have now been retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953, when storms began to be named under the current system.

For more: Ending the use of the Greek alphabet to name storms.

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