Forms of subtropical storm Wanda, exhausting list of names

For the second time in two years, and only the third time in history, meteorologists have exhausted the list of names used to identify storms during hurricane season in the Atlantic.

With the formation of subtropical storm Wanda on Saturday, there have been 21 named storms so far this year, starting with Tropical Storm Ana in May.

If more storms do form, the National Weather Service will switch to a list of additional names, only the third time in history that it has had to. The first dates from 2005.

Wanda is not expected to pose a danger for the landing, the National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.

It was located about 850 miles southeast of Cape Race in Newfoundland, with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, forecasters said. The storm was moving east-southeast at 16 mph. Maximum sustained winds are expected to increase to 60 mph later Sunday and continue for about 48 hours before the storm eases, forecasters said.

Last year’s season saw a record 30 named storms, including six major hurricanes, forcing meteorologists to use Greek letters to identify the last nine storms.

But in March, citing confusion among the general public, the World Meteorological Organization said it would no longer use the Greek alphabet to label storms and instead rely on an additional list of 21 names, starting with Adria , Braylen and Caridad, and ending with Viviane and Will.

“Zeta, Eta, Theta – if you even think of me saying them – having these storms all at the same time was tough,” said Kenneth Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center this year. “People mixed up storms.”

Like the main list of storm names, the additional list does not include names beginning with the letters Q, U, X, Y, or Z, which officials said were not common enough or easy to understand in English. , Spanish, French and Portuguese, the languages ​​frequently spoken in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

The links between hurricanes and climate change are becoming increasingly evident. A warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes over time and a higher incidence of more powerful storms. But the total number of storms could drop, as factors like stronger wind shear could prevent weaker storms from forming.

Hurricanes also get wetter due to increased water vapor in the warmer atmosphere. Scientists have suggested that storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 produced much more rain than they would have had without the human effects on the climate. In addition, rising sea levels contribute to increased storm surges, the most destructive element of tropical cyclones.

Ana became the first named storm of the season on May 22, making it the seventh consecutive year that a named storm has developed in the Atlantic before the official start of the season on June 1.

In May, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted there would be 13 to 20 named storms this year, of which six to 10 would be hurricanes, including three to five major Category 3 or more hurricanes in the Atlantic. .

NOAA updated its forecast in early August, forecasting 15 to 21 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes, by the end of the season on November 30. With Wanda, there have been 21 named storms so far, and seven of them have become hurricanes. .

Neil Vigdor contributed reports.

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