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What happens if we run through the Greek alphabet?

The Greek Alphabet is going fast!
The Greek Alphabet is going fast!

First things first. Tropical Storm IOTA, our 31st tropical system and 30th named storm of the 2020 season, has formed in the Caribbean and is forecast to become a Major Category 3 hurricane with 120-mph winds. The path, unfortunately, is toward Nicaragua/Honduras where ETA already took a deadly toll.

IOTA forecasted path
IOTA forecasted path

The storm surge alone could exceed 10′ for these areas and the NHC is predicting 20-30″ of rain for Nicaragua and Honduras. More deadly mudslides and flooding are forecast, and the path is looking very certain. Here is the American Model:

American Model through next week shows a Tuesday landfall courtesyTropical Tidbits
American Model through next week shows a Tuesday landfall courtesyTropical Tidbits

Keep these folks in your thoughts. They are struggling even now and this will only make matters so much worse.

Are there more names left?

I’ve had a number of viewers ask what happens if we go through the Greek alphabet for storm names. Some have suggested a list of Native American names. I think using tribal names might be a nice tribute -- Hurricane Choctaw, anyone? Other viewers prefer super heroes -- Tropical Storm Wonder Woman? Or we could stick with the Greek idea -- Tropical Storm Chi Omega? Hurricane Tri Delta?

I reached out to Dennis Feltgen, communication and public affairs officer for the National Hurricane Center. The bottom line is, we have no fear of running through the Greek alphabet. But here is his full answer:

“As you know, NHC does not exclusively name the Atlantic tropical storms. Rather, the list of names are maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Region IV. NHC represents the United States on this committee. Per the WMO, once the 21 names on the Atlantic list are exhausted, the Greek alphabet is used. There are 24 names on the Greek alphabet list. In order for that list to be exhausted, it would mean a total of 45 tropical storms had formed in one season, nearly four times the average. The WMO has no policy or procedure in place should the Greek name list be exhausted, and there is no evidence to suggest that exhausting the Greek list is even remotely possible.”

So, there you have it. No need to worry about the names issue.

Have a, well, lucky Friday the 13th and a nice weekend. Prayers, please, to Central America, especially Honduras!

Frank

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