Hurricane names retired, use of Greek alphabet for names ends

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on NOAA-20 acquired this image of...
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on NOAA-20 acquired this image of Hurricane Laura at 2:20 a.m. Central Daylight Time on August 26, 2020. Clouds are shown in infrared using brightness temperature data, which is useful for distinguishing cooler cloud structures from the warmer surface below. That data is overlaid on composite imagery of city lights from NASA’s Black Marble dataset.(NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens)
Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 4:12 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Three hurricane names were retired from the highly-active 2020 Atlantic season, and the use of the Greek alphabet was decided to be discontinued during a World Meteorological Organization committee meeting Wednesday.

The committee decided to retire Hurricanes Laura, Eta and Iota because of the death and destruction that these storms caused. These storm names will not be included in the six-year rotation. They also retired Hurricane Dorian, which hit the Bahamas in 2019.

UN’s weather organization also decided to discontinue the use of using the Greek alphabet for when all of the hurricane names have been exhausted.

“The annual name list has been exhausted on two occasions during the past 15 years, and it is likely that this will occur again in the future,” they said in a press release.

They agreed upon using a supplemental list of names for tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic from A to Z except for Q, U, as well as X, Y, and Z. This supplemental list would replace the Greek alphabet and be used when the names for a given Atlantic hurricane season are exhausted again.

Shortcomings were discovered with the use of the Greek alphabet, the WMO said. There was too much focus on the names and not hazards associated with the tropical cyclone, they said. There was also confusion with translating names to other languages (languages spoken in the Atlantic basin include Spanish, Creole, and French), pronunciation issues, and the retirement of two Greek letters complicated the continued use of the system according to the WMO.

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