Speed Reads

What's in a name?

Atlantic hurricane season runs out of names for the 2nd year in a row, 3rd time in history

The National Weather Service identified Subtropical Storm Wanda on Saturday, the 21st named storm of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane season — and, for the second time in two years, the end of the regular list of names. If any more storms form after Wanda, the National Weather Service will have to turn to a list of supplemental names for just the third time ever, after 2020 and 2005. Last year there were a record 30 named storms, and the last nine were Greek letters. 

There won't be Greek letters this year. In March, the World Meteorological Organization said Greek letters were too generic and confusing. "Zeta, Eta, Theta — if you think about even me saying those — to have those storms at the same time was tough," Kenneth Graham, the National Hurricane Center's director, said earlier this year. "People were mixing the storms up."

The meteorologists instead came up with a supplemental list of names, starting with Adria, Braylen, and Caridad. If The Atlantic somehow gets 42 storms, the last two would be Viviana and Will. The alphabetical list of names, regular and supplemental, skip Q, U, X, Y, and Z. 

The Atlantic hurricane season ends Nov. 30. There have been seven hurricanes among this season's 21 storms. In its updated predictions in August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 15 to 21 storms, including seven to 10 hurricane, by the end of the season.