With the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season approaching on June 1, the list of names that will be used for storms this year is being promoted to increase awareness of the upcoming season. Early seasonal outlooks indicate 2021 could be a very busy season, but it is too soon to say whether or not the number experienced in the record breaking 2020 season will be reached. In 2020, a very active Atlantic hurricane season exhausted the traditional list of names, forcing the National Hurricane Center to name storms after letters in the Greek alphabet.
The names to be used this year are:
The list of names are maintained by the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Currently, only tropical cyclones are named in an official capacity; winter storms are not. The World Meteorological Organization from the United Nations develops a list of names for each ocean basin. In the United States, the National Hurricane Center maintains lists from the WMO for Atlantic Basin and eastern Pacific basin storms. Storms that form near Hawaii come from a list managed by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
Storms are named in alphabetical order each season. “It is important to note that tropical cyclones/hurricanes are named neither after any particular person, nor with any preference in alphabetical sequence,” states the WMO. “The tropical cyclone/hurricane names selected are those that are familiar to the people in each region.”
Storms responsible for significant death/destruction are retired at annual WMO meetings. This is why there will never be another Katrina, Sandy, or Andrew. The WMO selects new names each year to replace the retired names. Otherwise, storm names are recycled every 6 years.
If a storm forms in the off-season, it will take the next name in the list based on the current calendar date. For example, if a tropical cyclone formed on December 28th, it would take the name from the previous season’s list of names. If a storm formed in February, it would be named from the subsequent season’s list of names. This means that any new storm that forms in 2021 will take a name from this new 2021 list, even if it forms before the June 1 start of the season.
In the Atlantic basin, once a tropical depressions intensifies to a tropical storm, it is named with the next storm available in the annual storm name list. If the hurricane strengthens to a hurricane, it’ll maintain the same name. If the name weakens to a depression but re-forms into a tropical storm or hurricane, it too will carry the same name.
In the event that more than twenty-one named tropical cyclones occur in the Atlantic basin in a season, additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet.