Hurricane names: What happened to the Greek alphabet?

WMO retires Greek names and releases supplemental list

FILE - This Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Eta at 10:40 a.m. EST in the Gulf of Mexico, Theta, right, and a tropical wave to the south that became Tropical Storm Iota. An overheating world obliterated weather records in 2020 an extreme year for hurricanes, wildfires, heat waves, floods, droughts and ice melt the United Nations weather agency reported Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (NOAA via AP) (Uncredited)

The Hurricane Committee of the World Meteorological Organization met virtually back in March to discuss the record-breaking 2020 hurricane season and what changes needed to be made.

One topic brought up was what to do with the Greek alphabet going forward.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was only the second year to use Greek names. The season showed there were a number of shortcomings with the use of the Greek alphabet.

2020 Record Breaking Hurricane Season Names Used (World Meteorological Organization)

First off, there was too much focus on the Greek names themselves and not the actual impacts of the storm. This took away from safety messaging.

There was confusion with the Greek names translating into other languages.

Some of the names sound very similar, leading to confusion.

Lastly, the impacts of both Eta and Iota last year were severe enough to retire the names, but the WMO has no formal plan of retiring Greek names and reusing them would be inappropriate.

As a result, the WMO came up with a “supplemental list” of names to be used once the list of 21 names is exhausted.

This list of names will be the same each year. If the storm is deadly or devastating, the name on the list can be retired and replaced.

The supplemental names for the Atlantic basin include the following:

  • Adria
  • Braylen
  • Caridad
  • Deshawn
  • Emery
  • Foster
  • Gemma
  • Heath
  • Isla
  • Jacobus
  • Kenzie
  • Lucio
  • Makayla
  • Nolan
  • Orlanda
  • Pax
  • Ronin
  • Sophie
  • Tayshaun
  • Viviana
  • Will