Welcome to the Greek Alphabet

Published on September 17th, 2020

Despite an average Atlantic Hurricane Season producing 12 named storms, the World Meteorological Organization published 21 names to assign, and in what should not be a surprise, there is nothing average about the 2020 season…

With only one left to go, the National Hurricane Center may soon use the last of the names on the official list of Atlantic storm names for 2020. Only Wilfred is left on the list of 21 storm names pre-approved for the season by the World Meteorological Organization.

That name could get assigned over the next week. In addition to the four named systems now being watched — Paulette, Teddy, Vicky and Sally — that are expected to cause massive flooding in parts of the Southeast, the center is watching three potential systems. Those systems include one in the eastern Atlantic with a 70% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone over the next five days.

Once the hurricane center assigns that last name on the list, it will move into the Greek alphabet. That’s only happened once before. The hyperactive 2005 season wound up using six Greek names: Tropical Storm Alpha, Hurricane Beta, Tropical Storm Gamma, Tropical Storm Delta, Hurricane Epsilon and Tropical Storm Zeta.

If Wilfred forms, it’s likely to be the earliest “W” storm on record. Like many of the storms this season, Vicky set a record, becoming the earliest 20th Atlantic named storm, breaking a record set by Tammy on October 5, 2005, said Phil Klotzbach, the Colorado State University meteorologist who leads a seasonal hurricane forecasting team. – USA Today, full report

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