Storms in the Atlantic Ocean are a common occurrence, but not every storm gets a name. In fact, a storm only gets named after winds reach 30 mph. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that 14 to 21 storms get named every year, with 6 to 10 reaching hurricane status (when winds reach 74 mph).
In 1953, The National Hurricane Center started using personal names to simplify communication between meteorologists and the public. The center began creating alphabetical lists of names for Atlantic Ocean storms, and at the time only used female names. In 1979, the monikers started alternating between male and female, still going in alphabetical order. The letters Q, U, X, Y and Z aren’t used.
Six master name lists are used in rotation by the World Meteorological Organization. The same list is repeated every six years wish a name being retired and replaced only when it is used for a devastating hurricane. There are currently 92 retired names, including from storms our generation recalls such as Irma, Harvey, Ike, Sandy and more.
Interesting fact….Names starting with the letter “I” have been retired more than names starting with any other letter.
Nine storms have already been named this year, including Hurricane Ian that is currently devastating the state of Florida. Names preceding Ian include, Alex, Bonnie, Collin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston and Hermine.
Storms coming behind Ian that are strong enough to warrant naming will be dubbed Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, and Walter.
2022 is expected to be a busier than usual storm season thanks to the La Niña weather pattern which brings warmer than average temperatures. Meteorologist predict at least 20 named storms for the season.
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