After hurricane season exhausts storm names, Greek alphabet follows

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,
With all the hurricanes this season, we are now in the Greek alphabet. If we make it through that alphabet, what would be used to name tropical cyclones?

Jim Dekker
, Tinley Park
Barb B.
Dear Barb and Jim,
As of now, there is no “plan B” if the Greek alphabet is exhausted. However, those odds are infinitesimal. Hurricanes have been named since 1953, and the list of 21 names (Q, U, X,Y, and Z are not used) has only been used up twice–2005 and this season. In 2005, six Greek letters were used, the last storm Zeta. The Greek alphabet has 24 letters, so there would have to be 45 named storms to reach Omega. A greater concern is the possibility of a notable Greek-letter hurricane that would dictate retiring a letter. For that reason, there is talk of a second list of 21 storm names available for use in very active seasons.

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