Tropical Storm Wilfred formed this Friday setting a new record: the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has produced so many storms that there are no more expected names left and from now on the cyclones will be identified with the Greek alphabet.
Tropical Storm Wilfred blows with sustained maximum winds of 65 km/h
In this unusually active season, Wilfred is the twenty-first storm of the year and, with its formation, the list of names defaulted by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) sold out.
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 18, 2020
The list consists of 21 female and male names that alternate in alphabetical order and change each year. Because WMO chooses names that are easily recognizable in a region where multiple languages are spoken, no appellate is foresees to start with X, Y, or Z.
In the unusual case where the list runs out, WMO foresees that storms will continue to identify with the letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha, beta, gamma, delta…
“Get your Greek alphabet out for the rest of 2020”
The NHC wrote in its Tropical Storm Wilfred newsletter.
Meteorologist MJ Ventrice of the consulting firm The Weather Company wrote on Twitter that this is “the second time in history that we will be using the Greek alphabet, after 2005”.
That year, records were broken with Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, which devastated Louisiana and Florida, respectively.
These names, as well as Maria, Irma or Harvey, for example, were forever removed from WMO name lists because of the devastation they caused on dry land.
As Tropical Storm Wilfred marks this historic landmark, further northwest is Teddy, a powerful Category 4 hurricane that swirles in the center of the Atlantic and could pass near the Bermuda Islands just a week after Hurricane Paulette.
And, in the Gulf of Mexico, in front of the mouth of the Rio Grande, the 22nd tropical depression of the season blows with winds of 55 km/hour, the NHC notes.
It is expected to become Tropical Storm Alpha later this Friday and perhaps into a hurricane over the weekend.