Hurricane Names from Greek Alphabet Are Dropped

Sticking with human names will lessen confusion and distraction

Credit: Getty Images

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced last week that it will no longer use the names of Greek letters for hurricanes. Each year the WMO follows a list of 21 names for Atlantic hurricanes. Previously, when more storms arose, it would then apply letters in the Greek alphabet. The WMO says that strategy caused confusion and distraction in 2020, when there were a record 30 Atlantic storms. From now on, it will publish a supplemental list of appellations to draw on. This year the added Atlantic names include Deshawn, Orlanda and Viviana. The organization also retires the names of particularly deadly or destructive storms: those from the 2020 season are Laura, Eta and Iota, and Dorian is a late addition from 2019. All 89 previously retired names are shown in a Graphic Science column we published last summer (below).

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