It’s official, we’re into the Greek alphabet for hurricane names

Alpha (top right) made landfall Friday in Portugal, and won't even fit on the standard map from the National Hurricane Center. [NOAA/NWS image]

With Tropical Storm Wilfred forming in the Atlantic on Friday, the National Hurricane Center ran out of human names for storms this season. Now we’ve moved to the Greek alphabet.

Since Friday morning, Wilfred (the last name on the human names list), Subtropical Storm Alpha and Tropical Storm Beta have all formed in the Atlantic basin. The trio joined Hurricane Teddy for a total of four named storms and another new tropical wave off the west coast of Africa.

Alpha was short-lived, making landfall in Portugal before becoming just a remnant. Tropical Storm Wilfred, located west of the Cabo Verde Islands with sustained winds of 40 mph, was expected to become a tropical depression by Monday and poses no threat to land. Tropical Storm Beta formed in the Gulf of Mexico with sustained winds of 40 mph and is expected to become a hurricane.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Teddy, a Category 3 storm early Friday evening, was expected to bring large swells and dangerous surf conditions to the Outer Banks this weekend but turn north away from the coast.

Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center and maintained and updated through a strict procedure by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.

Every season, there are 21 chosen names in alphabetical order, with the lists repeating every seven years unless a storm is so deadly or destructive the name is retired. If there are more than 21 named storms, the names then move to the Greek alphabet.

This hurricane season, which officially began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, there have now been 23 named storms, with no end in sight.

There’s only been one other hurricane season so active that humans names were exhausted and that was in 2005. That year, there were 27 named storms, 14 of which were hurricanes, and seven of those major hurricanes.

The next name on the tropical cyclone list is Gamma, followed by Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Nu, Xi, Omicron, Pi, Rho, Sigma, Tau, Upsilon, Phi, Chi, Psi and Omega.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at