Hurricane Names Are Going Greek


Daytona Beach, FL - We're currently in the midst of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season's peak and the National Hurricane Center only has one name left on their list. So what does that mean?

Well, if and when a system develops into the 21st named storm of the 2020 season, it will become Wilfred, the last name on the list.

From there, the NHC will move onto naming storms after the letters in the Greek alphabet – Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc. – which follows a naming convention established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Tropical Cyclone Programme.

Flashback To 2005

While it seems like a new concept, the WMO's Greek naming system has been used once before. It first saw its use during the infamous 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season that included notable storms such as Hurricane Katrina.

By mid-October of that year, Hurricane Wilma formed over the Caribbean Sea, just southwest of Jamaica.

Days later, on October 22nd, another tropical system began to form in the Caribbean Sea south of Puerto Rico.  By that evening, Tropical Storm Alpha had formed, the first named system to utilize a Greek name.

Five other Greek-named storms followed behind Alpha with Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta forming between late October and late December of 2005.

The Current Season

As of Tuesday morning (September 15th), the NHC is monitoring four named systems – Paulette, Sally, Teddy and Vicky – and three possible disturbances.

If one of those disturbances were to form into a Tropical Storm, the NHC will officially designate it as Wilfred, the 21st named storm of the season and the last name on this year's list.

The full list of the Greek alphabet designations can be found below:

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


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