Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Weather Wonders

So I'm trying to figure something out. I know that the hurricane names are chosen ahead of time. I know that they are alphabetical (skipping a few odd letters like Q) totaling 21 each year and that they alternate genders. My understanding is that when a tropical depression becomes a tropical storm (over 39 mph winds) it receives a name. Since Fay was the F name for the 08 hurricane list I assume that they use the same list for storms as hurricanes. Now, when the winds reach 80 mph it becomes a hurricane which seems to me is a more appropriate point to assign it a name from the HURRICANE list.. But anyhow. I found out that if there are more than 21 storms in a year (which is mormal since there are about 100 storms each year) they start naming the storms after the letters of the Greek alphabet.

Here is where I get lost - there are 100 tropicsl storms each year, many of which are at sea so we never hear about them. About half of the tropical storms never become hurricanes. Wouldn't those at sea storms take up all of the hurricane names pretty quickly? Shouldn't we hear about hurricanes Beta or Pi at least once each season? I don't remember ever hearing about any hurricanes with greek letter names... So how does it work then? What am I missing? Do they only use the hurricane names for the tropical storms they think will develop into a hurricane?

Can anyone help me figure this out?

PS- writing this from my new iPhone so I can't link but I got most of my info from ww.about.com and www.NHC.NOAA.gov.

1 comment:

The DAD said...

You didn't dig deep enough at the NOAA site. There is a list of names for various regions. We usually only hear about Atlantic Storms. Just a few years ago, there was more than 21 named storms and the Greek alphabet was used. See if you can figure which year that was.