Greek alphabet may be used for only the second time in history this hurricane season

Weather Headlines

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – September is the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane season when most tropical activity occurs before the season ends on November 30. It’s been a very active season, so active that we only have 3 names left on the list for the 2020 Atlantic tropical season. Those names are Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred.

Given how active it has been, it is very possible we will run out of names on this year’s designated list. If that happens, the Greek alphabet will be used for naming more tropical systems. This would only be the second time in modern naming history that use of the Greek alphabet for a tropical season has been initiated.

The first time the Greek alphabet was used due to extreme tropical activity in one season was in 2005 when we had historic storms like Katrina and Rita. That year, there was a total of 27 named storms with Zeta being the last. Zeta is the 6th name on the Greek list. 

Greek alphabet:

  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gamma
  • Delta
  • Epsilon
  • Zeta
  • Eta
  • Theta
  • Iota
  • Kappa
  • Lambda
  • Mu
  • Nu
  • Xi
  • Omicron
  • Pi
  • Rho
  • Sigma
  • Tau
  • Upsilon
  • Phi
  • Chi
  • Psi
  • Omega

For clarity, modern naming history dates back to 1979 when the current name structure was implemented – 21 names, different letter of the alphabet (no Q, U, X, Y or Z), alphabetical order and male/female alternation. The naming of tropical systems via the phonetic alphabet dates back to 1953.

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