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What’s in a name? For tropical cyclones, their scientist-given names are often nothing more than a blip in the news. Except when a big one hits. Then, the name sticks. Sometimes, the storms are so ruinous that any mention of the name causes extreme discomfort. To ease the pain, meteorologists often retire these storm names. In fact, this practice has been around since storm-naming began. It’s highly likely that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will see at least two names retired. So how does it work?
The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) maintains lists of tropical cyclone names around the world. Each ocean basin has its own running list of names, which are submitted by countries that border those bodies of water. The Atlantic Ocean is currently assigned six lists of 21 names each. The names are organized alphabetically and alternate between masculine and feminine. Each list of names is used once every six years. The list of storm names used in 2018 was last used in 2012, and it will be used again in 2024.
Letters - Q - U - X - Y
However, a few letters are missing. Neither Q, U, X, Y, or Z will get the chance at being the lead letter of an Atlantic storm’s name. That’s for one simple reason: retirement....
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