(CNN)The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season finished with 30 total named storms — the most in any year on record — but three of those names will never be used again.
Something else that will never be used again: The Greek alphabet as a backup list for when all the names on the annual storm naming list are used.”The Greek alphabet will not be used in future because it creates a distraction from the communication of hazard and storm warnings and is potentially confusing,” the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced on Wednesday.Elsa and Olaf? Characters from the movie 'Frozen' could serve as hurricane names this seasonThe WMO’s Hurricane Committee held its annual meeting this week to discuss past hurricane seasons and update its operational plans for upcoming seasons. At Wednesday’s meeting, the committee decided to retire the name Laura and replace it with Leah.The committee also retired one name from the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season since it was unable to meet last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Dorian will be retired from the 2019 season and replaced with Dexter on the list in 2025.Read MoreThe Greek letters Eta and Iota from the 2020 season will be retired as well, which is significant since before this year, the WMO made it very clear that it would not ever retire Greek names. The issue here was that there was no formal plan for retiring Greek names, but the committee realized that any future use of the names Eta and Iota would be “inappropriate.”The controversy of the Greek alphabetThe WMO oversees the naming off all tropical systems in every ocean basin globally. The list of Atlantic tropical cyclone names repeats every six years unless a storm is so deadly or costly that the WMO retires it from future lists.Hurricane season ends historic as predicted by experts back in AprilHurricanes Eta and Iota were two of the top three deadliest tropical systems last year, but there were additional reasons as to why these Greek letters were retired.”There can be too much focus on the use of Greek alphabet names and not the actual impacts from the storm,” the WMO stated in a press release. “This can greatly detract from the needed impact and safety messaging.””There is confusion with some Greek alphabet names when they are translated into other languages used within the Region. The pronunciation of several of the Greek letters (Zeta, Eta, Theta) are similar and occur in succession. In 2020, this resulted in storms with very similar sounding names occurring simultaneously, which led to messaging challenges rather than streamlined and clear communication.”
The WMO Hurricane Committee agreed that the Greek alphabet will no longer be used to name tropical cyclones.Instead, there is a new supplemental list in case regular names are exhaustedDetails https://t.co/VQ0gtNvo4L pic.twitter.com/71NcpjiBgi
— World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) March 17, 2021 This isn’t the only year that this particular topic has been brought up. In 2005, Hurricane Beta became a deadly Category 3 storm, causing nine deaths and more than $15.5 million in damage across four countries.However, 2005 was the first year that the Greek alphabet was ever used in 26 years of consistently naming Atlantic hurricanes. At the time, the committee did not deem it necessary to retire these Greek alphabet names as it did not expect to dip into that list very often. However, this same situation occurred in 2020 — only 15 years later.The Greek alphabet will be replaced by a supplemental list of names using the same rules as the main Atlantic hurricane season naming list — a list of names A-Z but excluding the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z — for if and when the initial list of names has been exhausted. This will allow for the supplemental list of names to be more easily retired and replaced when the need arises. “Names beginning with Q, U, X, Y and Z are still not common enough or easily understood in local languages to be slotted into the rotating lists” the committee said.The record season2020 was a record year for hurricanes in the Atlantic so it’s no surprise that there are three names that will be retired — Laura, Eta, and Iota. The record for most retired names in a single season is five, set in 2005: Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, and Wilma. Four other years have had four names retired — 1955, 1995, 2004, and 2017.People along nearly every mile of coastline from Texas to Maine were affected by at least one named storm this season.Laura caused 77 deaths and more than $19 billion in damages, making it the costliest hurricane of the 2020 season. Laura’s top winds reached up to 150 mph, and its storm surge exceeded 15 feet causing heavy damage along the southwestern Louisiana coast. Laura was also the strongest hurricane (at landfall) to hit Louisiana since 1856.Hurricane Eta made landfall in Central America as a Category 4 hurricane. The storm stalled over Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala, for several days bringing torrential rain and subsequent flooding wiped entire communities off the map.Landslides swept through the area, leaving mud 50 feet deep in some places. Just weeks later many of the same locations were hit by another devastating storm – Iota.Hurricane Iota is considered the strongest storm to hit Nicaragua in the country’s history. More than 400,000 people in Nicaragua were affected by the storm as it made landfall as a strong Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds near 155 mph. The 2020 season got off to an early and rapid start with the first named storm, Arthur, coming two weeks before the official start date of June 1. Due to this, it was also discussed at the meeting this week about moving the formal start date of Atlantic hurricane season up two weeks to May 15, to match the start date of the eastern Pacific hurricane season. However, the committee decided against changing the official start date of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Storm intensity isn’t everythingJust because a tropical system reaches a high category in strength doesn’t mean it will automatically be retired. In 2019, Hurricanes Dorian and Lorenzo reached Category 5 strength, but only Dorian was retired.Both hurricanes were incredibly powerful as well as deadly. Dorian and Lorenzo were the deadliest and second deadliest storms respectively in the 2019 season. But Lorenzo was not retired because it never made landfall as a tropical system. Photos: Hurricane DorianA body is carried out of the Mudd neighborhood in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, on Monday, September 9.Hide Caption 1 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianHomes are in ruins one week after Dorian hit Marsh Harbour.Hide Caption 2 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA photo album is seen amid the debris in Marsh Harbour on Sunday, September 8.Hide Caption 3 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA damaged home in Hope Town, Bahamas.Hide Caption 4 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA toppled building crane is draped over a new construction project in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on September 9.Hide Caption 5 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianBodies are loaded onto a plane in Marsh Harbour on Saturday, September 7.Hide Caption 6 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianThis aerial photo, taken on September 7, shows damage at the South Riding Point oil-storage facility in the Bahamas.Hide Caption 7 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianBoxes of food are loaded onto trucks in Freeport, Bahamas, on September 7.Hide Caption 8 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianPeople reach out for beverages as they await evacuation in Marsh Harbour.Hide Caption 9 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianEvacuees from the Bahamas rest on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship after it arrived in Freeport on September 7. The ship delivered thousands of meals and cases of bottled water.Hide Caption 10 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianPeople wait to leave Marsh Harbour on September 7.Hide Caption 11 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianWaves crash into boats in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as Hurricane Dorian approached on September 7.Hide Caption 12 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA man looks a tree that fell in Moncton, New Brunswick, on September 7. Hide Caption 13 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA man surveys damage at the Boardwalk RV Park in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, on Friday, September 6.Hide Caption 14 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianBryan Philips walks with his dog on a flooded road in Salvo, North Carolina, on September 6.Hide Caption 15 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianEvacuees wait to leave Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas.Hide Caption 16 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA fallen tree lies on top of a vehicle in Isle of Palms, South Carolina, on September 6.Hide Caption 17 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianSchemelda Saintilien walks past debris and damaged houses on the Bahamas’ Great Abaco island.Hide Caption 18 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianPolice Officer Curtis Resor, left, and Sgt. Michael Stephens check a sailboat for occupants in Beaufort, North Carolina, on September 6.Hide Caption 19 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianHomes flattened by Hurricane Dorian are seen on the Bahamas’ Great Abaco island on Thursday, September 5.Hide Caption 20 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianRescue workers recover a body in Marsh Harbour on September 5.Hide Caption 21 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianTwo men stand amid the destruction in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, on September 5.Hide Caption 22 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA woman from the Bahamas speaks on a cell phone after evacuating on September 5. Hide Caption 23 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA woman battles rain and wind in Charleston, South Carolina, on September 5. Hide Caption 24 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianUtility crews work on restoring power in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on September 5. Hide Caption 25 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianRescue workers walk through floodwaters in Little River, South Carolina, on September 5. Hide Caption 26 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianWorkers try to restore power after a tornado hit Emerald Isle, North Carolina, on September 5. Several tornadoes were reported in the Carolinas. Hide Caption 27 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianEmerald Isle employees work to clear a road after a tornado hit.Hide Caption 28 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianAn aerial view of Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, on September 5.Hide Caption 29 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianAn evacuee rides in a Coast Guard helicopter after being rescued from Treasure Cay, Bahamas, on Wednesday, September 4.Hide Caption 30 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianBoats are piled up on the Bahamas’ Great Abaco island on September 4.Hide Caption 31 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianRoshane Eyma cries as she is greeted by members of her church on September 4. She had been rescued and flown to Nassau, Bahamas.Hide Caption 32 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianMarsh Harbour is seen from above on September 4.Hide Caption 33 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianHouses destroyed by Hurricane Dorian are seen on the Bahamas’ Great Abaco island on September 4.Hide Caption 34 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA resident recovers dishes from his son’s home in Pine Bay, Bahamas, on September 4.Hide Caption 35 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianAn aerial view of damage on the Bahamas’ Great Abaco island.Hide Caption 36 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA child walks past clothes laid out to dry in Freeport, Bahamas, on September 4.Hide Caption 37 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA broken plane rests on the side of a road in Freeport.Hide Caption 38 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianDebris litters the Grand Bahama International Airport on September 4.Hide Caption 39 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianVolunteers receive relief supplies at the New Providence Community Center in Nassau.Hide Caption 40 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianBoats, docks and houses are destroyed on the island of Great Abaco.Hide Caption 41 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianBraden Vick, right, and Scott Ray run along The Battery in Charleston, South Carolina, on September 4.Hide Caption 42 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianBob Quarles boards up his beach house in Oak Island, North Carolina, on September 4.Hide Caption 43 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA house is surrounded by floodwaters on Grand Bahama island.Hide Caption 44 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianDebbie Pagan checks her raised furniture one last time before she and her husband evacuated their home in Tybee Island, Georgia, on September 4.Hide Caption 45 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianMailboxes are taped shut in Charleston on September 4.Hide Caption 46 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianThis aerial image shows damage on the Bahamas’ Great Abaco island on Tuesday, September 3.Hide Caption 47 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA family is escorted to a safe zone after being rescued in Freeport, Bahamas, on September 3. Hide Caption 48 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianJulia Aylen carries her dog as she wades through waist-deep water near her home in Freeport on September 3.Hide Caption 49 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianDamaged homes are seen in this aerial photograph from the Bahamas on September 3.Hide Caption 50 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianVolunteers walk down a flooded road as they work to rescue families near the Casuarina Bridge in Freeport on September 3. Hide Caption 51 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA car is submerged in Freeport floodwaters on September 3. Hide Caption 52 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianResidents wade through a flooded street in Freeport on September 3.Hide Caption 53 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianEddie Wright and his dog, Vino, wait on a bus to evacuate Brunswick, Georgia.Hide Caption 54 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA house is flooded in Freeport on September 3.Hide Caption 55 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianPeople gather donations at the Christ Episcopal Church in Miami.Hide Caption 56 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianBoats are piled up at a Bahamian port on Monday, September 2.Hide Caption 57 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA man walks through the rubble left by Hurricane Dorian in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, on September 2.Hide Caption 58 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianThis September 2 photo provided by NASA shows the eye of Hurricane Dorian as seen from the International Space Station. Hide Caption 59 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianEvacuation traffic is seen near South Carolina’s coast on September 2.Hide Caption 60 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianUS Coast Guard helicopter crews have been helping with search-and-rescue efforts in the Bahamas.Hide Caption 61 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA man crosses a street during a downpour in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on September 2.Hide Caption 62 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianThis aerial photo shows Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, on September 2.Hide Caption 63 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianAgency officials brief Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis and his cabinet members on September 2. Minnis said many homes, businesses and other buildings have been destroyed or heavily damaged. He called the devastation “unprecedented and extensive.”Hide Caption 64 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianBusinesses are shuttered near Jetty Park in Fort Pierce, Florida, on September 2.Hide Caption 65 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA boy stands near high surf in Vero Beach, Florida, on September 2.Hide Caption 66 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianThis view of the storm was taken from the International Space Station on September 2.Hide Caption 67 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianDorian left heavy damage at this resort in Hope Town, Bahamas.Hide Caption 68 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianWaves caused by Dorian crash into a man at the Jupiter Beach Park in Florida on September 2.Hide Caption 69 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianStrong winds blow the tops of trees and brush in Freeport, Bahamas, on September 2.Hide Caption 70 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA passenger looks at the flight board at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on September 2. The airport canceled flights and closed because of winds caused by Dorian.Hide Caption 71 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianPeople watch the waves crash onto Vero Beach, Florida, on September 2.Hide Caption 72 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianClouds loom over a lifeguard tower in Fort Lauderdale on September 2. Hide Caption 73 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianBeachgoers watch a man ride a kiteboard in Indialantic, Florida, on Sunday, September 1.Hide Caption 74 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianPalm trees blow in strong winds prior to Dorian’s landfall in Freeport.Hide Caption 75 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA view outside a car’s windshield before Dorian hit Freeport on September 1.Hide Caption 76 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianRiverside Mobile Home Park residents Joe Lewis, left, and Rob Chambers work to secure an air conditioner before evacuating the park in Jensen Beach, Florida.Hide Caption 77 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA man places a shutter in a window in Lake Worth, Florida.Hide Caption 78 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianPassengers arrive at Orlando International Airport on Saturday, August 31.Hide Caption 79 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianWorkers install storm shutters in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas.Hide Caption 80 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianNASA employees watch as the Artemis launch tower is rolled back inside a building at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.Hide Caption 81 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianMatt Rohrer loads sandbags in the back of his vehicle in Flagler Beach, Florida, on Friday, August 30.Hide Caption 82 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianWorkers at Flamingo Gardens in Davie, Florida, move an Allosaurus statue on August 30.Hide Caption 83 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianShoppers wait in line before sunrise for a Sam’s Club store to open in Kissimmee, Florida.Hide Caption 84 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA supervised work crew of female jail prisoners fills sandbags in Titusville, Florida, on Thursday, August 29.Hide Caption 85 of 99 Photos: Hurricane Dorian”Here’s a look at #HurricaneDorian from @Space_Station,” said astronaut Andrew Morgan, who posted this photo to Twitter. “I caught this shot (August 29) as it traveled across the Caribbean north of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.”Hide Caption 86 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianShoppers wait in long lines at a Costco in Davie, Florida, on August 29.Hide Caption 87 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA man fills containers with gasoline in Hialeah, Florida, on August 29.Hide Caption 88 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianA man rides a bike by a Miami Beach building with boarded-up windows on August 29.Hide Caption 89 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianDozens of Orange County residents fill sandbags at Blanchard Park in Orlando on Wednesday, August 28.Hide Caption 90 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianEmpty shelves at a supermarket in Patillas, Puerto Rico, on August 28.Hide Caption 91 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianPeople stock up with groceries and water in Fort Lauderdale.Hide Caption 92 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianYa Mary Morales and Henry Sustache put plywood over the windows of their home in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, on August 28. Puerto Rico was ultimately spared the brunt of hurricane-force winds.Hide Caption 93 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianWorkers prepare a store’s exterior in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on August 28.Hide Caption 94 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianCars line up for fuel at a gas station in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday, August 27.Hide Caption 95 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianMen board up a shop’s windows in Boqueron, Puerto Rico, on August 27.Hide Caption 96 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianMunicipal employees clear debris in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on August 27.Hide Caption 97 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianResidents board up a storefront pharmacy in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Monday, August 26.Hide Caption 98 of 99 Photos: Hurricane DorianResidents stand in line at a grocery store in Bridgetown on August 26.Hide Caption 99 of 99Lorenzo attained its peak intensity over the open waters of the Atlantic before weakening considerably and transitioning into an extratropical cyclone.Lorenzo was the second deadliest hurricane of the 2019 hurricane season causing 19 deaths. Eleven crew members of the Bourbon Rhode were killed when the ship sank near the eyewall of the hurricane, while it was over the open ocean.An additional eight people died along the US East Coast due to dangerous surf conditions generated by the hurricane which was several hundred miles away.Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas becoming the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. Dorian recorded sustained wind speeds of 185 mph, tying the record for maximum sustained wind speed for an Atlantic hurricane that made landfall. It shares that record with the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane.
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