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For Storm Names, We Now Turn to the Greeks

Wilfred was the last taken from the traditional list, and Alpha followed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 18, 2020 3:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – Forecasters ran out of traditional names for storms Friday, forcing them to turn to the Greek alphabet for only the second time since the 1950s, per the AP. With more than two months left in the record-shattering Atlantic hurricane season, so many named storms have been produced that scientists ran out of traditional names as Tropical Storm Wilfred developed in the eastern Atlantic. It was only the second time that has happened since forecasters standardized the naming system in 1953. Wilfred was weak and far from land. Two hours after Wilfred took shape, the National Hurricane Center moved to the Greek alphabet when Subtropical Storm Alpha formed just off the coast of Portugal. Next up is Beta and so on.

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The only time the hurricane center dipped into the Greek alphabet was the deadly 2005 hurricane season, which included Hurricane Katrina's strike on New Orleans. The prior record for the earliest 21st named storm was Wilma on Oct. 8, 2005, said a Colorado State University hurricane researcher. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people were still without power along the Alabama coast and the Florida panhandle in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally. Officials continued to assess millions of dollars in damage that included a broken bridge in Pensacola and ships thrown onto dry land. Two people in Alabama were killed in the storm. One person is missing in Florida.

(Read more hurricane stories.)

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