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Tuesday Trivia: Did your name make the list for 2020's hurricane season?

J. H. Osborne • Apr 28, 2020 at 7:00 PM

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1, peaks Sept. 10 and ends Nov. 30, although hurricanes can form at any time, according to the Farmers’ Almanac, which provides the following information on how tropical storms and hurricanes get their names.

Background

• Prior to the 1950s, meteorologists kept track of hurricanes and tropical storms by the year and the storms’ order for that year. So, for instance, the fifth tropical storm of 1938 was referred to as just that — the “fifth tropical storm of 1938” or “Storm 5.”

• Tropical storms and hurricanes that did a lot of damage received unofficial names — like the 1926 Great Miami Hurricane, which did so much damage that the Miami government implemented the first known building code in the United States.

• During the 1950s, meteorologists realized that it was difficult to keep track of unnamed storms — particularly if there was more than one storm happening at any given time. By 1953, meteorologists around the United States were using names for tropical storms and cyclones.

Who names them?

The World Meteorological Organization is responsible for developing the names for both Northern Pacific and Atlantic storms. They use six lists of names for Atlantic Ocean and Eastern North Pacific storms. These lists rotate, one each year. That means every six years, the names cycle back around and get reused. If a hurricane does tremendous damage, such as Katrina, Sandy or Harvey, the name is retired and replaced by a different name beginning with the same letter.

Male or female?

Since 1979, names alternate between male and female names, listed alphabetically and in chronological order starting with A and omitting Q and U, X, Y and Z. If more than 21 names are required during a season, the Greek alphabet is used. In earlier years, Atlantic storms were always named using female names.

List of 2020 Atlantic hurricane names:

These names were recycled from the 2014 season: Arthur; Bertha; Cristobal; Dolly; Edouard; Fay; Gonzalo; Hanna; Isaias; Josephine; Kyle; Laura; Marco; Nana; Omar; Paulette; Rene; Sally; Teddy; Vicky; and Wilfred.

Source: The Farmer’s Almanac (Caleb Weatherbee).

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