Hurricanes and the Greek alphabet

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Hurricanes and the Greek alphabet


The Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t officially end until November 30 and we’ve already run out of names!

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) names tropical or subtropical systems when they have intensified into a tropical storm with winds of at least 63 km/h. Once all 21 English-alphabet names (letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are removed), which are established by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), have been used, additional storms take names from the Greek alphabet.

The NHC will now switch to using the letters of the Greek alphabet for naming hurricanes. Names from the Greek alphabet have only been used once before – during the 2005 season. The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record with 27 named storms and an unnamed tropical storm. The last Greek letter to be used, Zeta, became only the second tropical storm on record to exist in two calendar years. It was named on Dec 30, 2005 before finally weakening to an area of low pressure on January 6, 2006.

Greek Alphabet

The final name on the 2020 list of names for Atlantic hurricanes was Wilfred. After Wilfred, the next named storm will be Alpha, the next one Beta and so on.

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

For more: Canadian Hurricane Centre.

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