There have been so many Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms this year that the world is running out of names for them, the United Nations said Tuesday.
The storms are given first names in alphabetical order, but this year they are expected to end.
“The 2020 hurricane season in the Atlantic is so active that the regular list of storm names is likely to be exhausted,” said Clare Nullis, spokeswoman for the Geneva-based United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in a press conference.
“In this case, the Greek alphabet is only used for the second time in the record.”
During the annual hurricane season from June 1 to November 30, storms are given alternate male and female names, this year starting with Arthur and Bertha.
Storms are named to make them easier to identify in warning messages.
The names are monitored by the WMO. They are reused every six years. If the hurricanes are particularly devastating, the name will be withdrawn and replaced.
The name lists use 21 of the 26 letters of the alphabet as it is difficult to find a balance between six easily recognizable English, Spanish, French and Dutch names that start with Q, U, X, Y and Z – the languages those spoken in the language are affected Atlantic and Caribbean regions.
This year only the name Wilfred remains unused, which means that a switch to the Greek alphabet is imminent.
Recently, Hurricane Paulette had its eye on Bermuda on Monday; Tropical Depression Rene has now dissolved; Hurricane Sally is likely to cause flash floods on the US Gulf Coast on Tuesday. Tropical Storm Teddy is expected to become a hurricane on Tuesday, while Tropical Storm Vicky is over the Atlantic.
Having five tropical cyclones over the Atlantic Basin at the same time is a record set in September 1971, Nullis said.
According to the US National Hurricane Center, a low pressure area has formed near Cape Verde that has a 50 percent chance of tropical cyclones forming in the next 48 hours.
The Greek alphabet was used only once in 2005, when the first six letters were used as names for storms: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta.
That extraordinary year saw the devastating Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, all of whose names were retired.
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