A look at the storm names for the 2020 Hurricane season

Hurricane

This GOES-16, GeoColor satellite image taken Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, at 17:10 UTC and provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows Hurricane Dorian moving off the east coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean. (NOAA via AP)

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1 and the first name on the list is Arthur.

Does that name seem familiar?

Six years ago, a tropical depression formed just east of Florida’s coastline on July 1. In the following days, the depression strengthened into Hurricane Arthur and went on to make landfall in North Carolina as a Category 2 hurricane.

Six years prior to that, the name Arthur was used for a tropical storm that made landfall in Belize in May of 2008.

In 2002, Tropical Storm Arthur formed in the Atlantic where it traveled northeast and made no landfall.

Starting to see a pattern?

The alphabetical list of names used to identify tropical storms and hurricanes repeats every seventh year. The names on the 2020 list should seem familiar to you because they were used in 2014. Most were used in 2008 and in 2002, etc.

The names came from members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) who proposed a list for each tropical region around the world.

Occasionally, names do get retired off the list and will never return again. This only happens when a storm is so significant, costly or deadly, it would be offensive to use again. When a name is retired, a new name is selected by the WMO Tropical Cyclone Committees. The name selected will begin with the same letter the retired name began with and take its place. It will appear in the list of names six years following the deadly storm.

Not including 2019, at least two storm names have been retired from their list since 2015. The World Meteorological Organization will likely retire Dorian from the list due to the devastation and loss of life in the Bahamas, however that hasn’t been announced yet.

Most recently, Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael were retired from the 2018 list of names. Those names were replaced with Francine and Milton, respectively. They will first appear on the 2024 list of names.


Tracking the Tropics

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