We’re Running Out of Names This Hurricane Season
We’re nearing familiar territory when it comes to naming tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean, that is, using up all of the predestined names.
With the news that another tropical cyclone formed in the Atlantic Ocean Friday, we’re crossing off another name on this year’s list: Teresa. We’ve now had 19 tropical cyclones this season in the Atlantic. That’s well above the average number of named storms in any given year which is 14. That 14 number is new this year It used to be an average of 12 named storms each hurricane season until the new climate normals came out in 2021 which bumped it up another 2.
There are another two months left in the hurricane season (ends November 30) so there could still be additional named storms in the Atlantic. What happens if we reach the end of the list? Last year we reached the end of the list by mid September and then went on to Greek letters. That will not be the case this year.
Instead, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and National Hurricane Center (NHC) agreed to use an alternative list of names. This is a constant list of the same alternative names year to year. Referred to as the supplemental list it also begins with the letter A and continues alphabetically to W adding another 21 potential names. Hopefully we don’t get to the end of *that* list because it would mean 42 storms were named.
Supplemental List of Atlantic & Pacific Named Storms
Atlantic tropical cyclone names
Pacific tropical cyclone names
The reason this supplemental list was recommended rather than using Greek letters again is that the WMO & NHC found the Greek naming system to be too confusing to the end user. The confusion, in their view, drew away from the impacts of last year’s Greek-named hurricanes (some of which were major hurricanes). Let’s just hope we don’t have to use or see this alternate list often.