Changes made to the naming system for the Atlantic tropical season

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No more use of the Greek alphabet to name storms. That is what the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) decided on at their last meeting on March 15-17 of 2021.

In 2020, the Atlantic basin had a record-setting year having the most named storms since the modern naming system was put in place in the early 1950s.

Below are the reasons why the WMO felt that no longer using the Greek alphabet would be best:

The 2020 season showed that there were a number of shortcomings with the use of the Greek alphabet.

  • There can be too much focus on the use of Greek alphabet names and not the actual impacts from the storm.  This can greatly detract from the needed impact and safety messaging. 
  • There is confusion with some Greek alphabet names when they are translated into other languages used within the Region. 
  • The pronunciation of several of the Greek letters (Zeta, Eta, Theta) are similar and occur in succession.  In 2020, this resulted in storms with very similar sounding names occurring simultaneously, which led to messaging challenges rather than streamlined and clear communication. 
  • Impacts from Eta and Iota were severe enough that those names have formally retired by the Hurricane Committee.  There was no formal plan for retiring Greek names, and the future use of these names would be inappropriate.  

Since there will still be a need to have a secondary list just in case the primary list is exhausted like it has been on two occasions in the last 15 years (2005 & 2020), the WMO has created a supplemental list of Atlantic tropical names than can be used.

2021 Primary Atlantic Tropical Names
Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Elsa
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Julian
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda
Secondary (Supplemental) Atlantic Tropical Names- These names will be used after the primary list is exhausted
Adria
Braylen
Caridad
Deshawn
Emery
Foster
Gemma
Heath
Isla
Jacobus
Kenzie
Lucio
Makayla
Nolan
Orlanda
Pax
Ronin
Sophie
Tayshaun
Viviana
Will

In addition to this news, a decision was made to officially retire four names. A name is retired when there is significant loss of life or damage caused by the named storm. Once the name is retired, it cannot be used again.

Newly retired names:

Dorian- 2019

Laura- 2020

Eta and Iota (Greek List)- 2020

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