From Ana to Wanda, here is the list of tropical storm and hurricane names for 2021

From Ana to Wanda, here is the list of tropical storm and hurricane names for 2021

May 21, 2021

Story Highlights

  • The World Meteorological Organization chooses hurricane names several years in advance.
  • If a hurricane is particularly deadly or costly, then its name is "retired."
  • If all 21 names are used this year, there is a new "supplemental" list of 21 names that will be used after Wanda.

With the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season upon us, now is a good time to review the list of names that will be used throughout the six-month season.

Hurricane season officially begins June 1, and federal forecasters have predicted an “above-average” season, with as many as 20 named storms forming. Of those 20, as many as 10 are forecast to be hurricanes. (An average season has 14 named storms, of which 7 are hurricanes.) 

A tropical storm gets a name when its sustained winds reach 39 mph; it becomes a hurricane when its winds reach 74 mph. 

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), based in Geneva, Switzerland, chooses hurricane names several years in advance, based on a strict criteria. If a hurricane is particularly deadly or costly, then its name is “retired” by the WMO and replaced by another one.

Here is the list of names for the 2021 season:

  • Ana
  • Bill
  • Claudette
  • Danny
  • Elsa
  • Fred
  • Grace
  • Henri
  • Ida
  • Julian
  • Kate
  • Larry
  • Mindy
  • Nicholas
  • Odette
  • Peter
  • Rose
  • Sam
  • Teresa
  • Victor
  • Wanda

If all 21 names are used this year, there is a new supplemental list of 21 names that will be used after Wanda. Here is that list, from the WMO:

  • Adria
  • Braylen
  • Caridad
  • Deshawn
  • Emery
  • Foster
  • Gemma
  • Heath
  • Isla
  • Jacobus
  • Kenzie
  • Lucio
  • Makayla
  • Nolan
  • Orlanda
  • Pax
  • Ronin
  • Sophie
  • Tayshaun
  • Viviana
  • Will
     

Prior to 2021, the Greek alphabet was used if the primary list was exhausted, using such names as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta, etc. But from now on, the Greek alphabet won’t be used “because it creates a distraction from the communication of hazard and storm warnings and is potentially confusing,” the WMO said in a statement.

Hurricane season: NOAA predicts another busy Atlantic hurricane season with up to 20 named storms possible

Why – and how – do hurricanes get names?

Before they started naming storms, hurricane forecasters had to refer to storms by saying something like, “the storm 500 miles east-southeast of Miami.” But six hours later the storm’s position would change.

Also, when more than one storm was going on at the same time, making it clear which storm was being described made the job even harder.

In 1953, the U.S. began using female names for hurricanes and, by 1979, male and female names were used. The names alternate between male and female.

The names are alphabetical and each new storm gets the next name on the list.

There are no Q, U, X, Y or Z names because of the lack of usable names that begin with those letters.

There is a separate list for tropical storms and hurricanes that form in the eastern Pacific Ocean. 

In addition, there are also separate lists for typhoons in the western Pacific and tropical cyclones in Australia and the Indian Ocean. 

This NOAA/GOES satellite image shows Hurricane Iota on November 16, 2020 at 07:10Z as it approaches Central America. (Photo: NOAA/GOES/AFP via Getty Images)

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