Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Bye Alpha, Eta: Greek alphabet ditched for hurricane names

Published:Friday | March 19, 2021 | 9:23 AM
This Wednesday, May 27, 2020 satellite image made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Bertha approaching the South Carolina coast. (NOAA via AP)

With named storms coming earlier and more often in warmer waters, the Atlantic hurricane season is going through some changes with meteorologists ditching the Greek alphabet during busy years.

But the Atlantic hurricane season will start this year on June 1 as traditionally scheduled, despite meteorologists discussing the idea of moving it to May 15.

A special World Meteorological Organization committee Wednesday ended the use of Greek letters when the Atlantic runs out of the 21 names for the year, saying the practice was confusing and put too much focus on the Greek letter and not on the dangerous storm it represented.

Also, in 2020 with Zeta, Eta and Theta, they sounded so similar it caused problems.

The Greek alphabet had only been used twice in 2005 and nine times last year in a record-shattering hurricane season.

Starting this year, if there are more than 21 Atlantic storms, the next storms will come from a new supplemental list headed by Adria, Braylen, Caridad and Deshawn and ending with Will.

There’s a new back-up list for the Eastern Pacific that runs from Aidan and Bruna to Zoe.

Meanwhile, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is recalculating just what constitutes an average hurricane season.

If it follows the usual 30-year update model, the new “normal” season would have 19% more named storms and major hurricanes.

And prominent hurricane experts want meteorologists to rethink how they warn people about wetter, nastier storms in a warming world.

“Climate change is real, and it is having an impact on tropical cyclones,” University of Albany atmospheric scientist Kristen Corbosiero said.

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