Storm names? It’s all Greek now to the National Weather Service

A second-straight morning of temperatures in the 30s, with a high Monday that might hit the low 60s before heading back into the 30s overnight, as Fall arrives Tuesday.

If the National Weather Service forecast is correct, most of this week will be dry before showers Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Oh well. There goes the weekend.

The weather types are watching two storms — a tropical one named Beta, which is coming ashore in Texas and Louisiana along with Hurricane Teddy, which is bringing high surf in the Northeast Atlantic coast, threatens to sideswipe Bermuda and could hit Halifax in the Canadian Atlantic.

Beta? Yep, the National Weather Service has run out of normal names and is now, for the second time in history, turning to the Greek alphabet to name tropical storms or hurricanes.

The Greek alphabet was first used in 2006 with 27 names storms between June 2005 and January 2006

The National Hurricane Center says 89 names have been retired and was becoming more of a problem when only female names were used. Male names were added in 1978. So far, no Greek names have been retired.

“If we have a bad one and the name has to be retired, I think [the issue] has to be taken up again,” says James Franklin, dormer chief hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center. “I mean you could skip [a Greek letter], but that’s sort of weird.”

Franklin has proposed maintaining a separate, seventh set of names in the mid-2000s. These names, a bank reserved only for the “extra” storms during overactive seasons such as 2005 or 2020, would be easy to replace if one were retired. A Greek letter, on the contrary, has no replacement.

“I remembered proposing internally toward the end of 2005 as we got to the beginning of November that we come up with a secondary list of regular names that we would just use instead,” Franklin tells “Actually, the rest of my colleagues internally at [the National Hurricane Center] decided, ‘No, let’s not do that,’ but then it got proposed elsewhere from [the National Weather Service], too.” reports:

At the NOAA Hurricane Conference, held in November 2005, U.S. weather officials approved the measure for forwarding to the World Meteorological Organization. But when the United States sent delegates to the corresponding international meeting the following spring, the proposal was rejected.

“What got reported back was something along the lines of, ‘We like the Greek alphabet because it’s special, it’s different, it conveys the uniqueness of having exceeded the regular alphabet,’ which didn’t strike me as a particularly logical reason,” Franklin said.

“I think the U.S. proposed it again to WMO in 2010, and although I don’t have a record of it being rejected again, clearly it didn’t get approved,” he added.

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