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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hurricane Names and Exhausting The Alphabet

We are about to get another named tropical cyclone in the Atlantic.  A small swirl southeast of Bermuda is on the verge of being designated "Tony."  We are rapidly running out of "names" (here's the official National Hurricane Center list of names for 2012) for tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Basin. 

Many of these systems are, in my opinion, glorified thunderstorms swirling around a tight center and barely qualify as tropical storms.  (A storm gets a "name" when it has sustained winds of 39 miles per hour. Many systems, particularly in the far eastern Atlantic, are designated on the basis of satellite observations.)

After "Tony" there are only two more  names, Valerie and William.  After that, we go to Greek alphabet names.  In 2005, we had three Greek alphabet storms: Alpha, Beta and Gamma.


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