Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Tropical Storm Alpha Sets Naming Record 344

Posted by Zonk
from the end-of-times dept.
vekron writes "Tropical Storm Alpha formed Saturday in the Caribbean, setting the record for the most named storms in an Atlantic hurricane season. This is the first time the U.S National Hurricane Center has resorted to using the Greek alphabet since it began naming tropical cyclones in 1953. The previous record of 21 named storms had stood since 1933. Alpha was the 22nd to reach tropical storm strength this year, and the season doesn't end until November 30. At 8 p.m. EDT, Alpha was 70 miles south of Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. Tropical storm warnings have been posted for the entire coastline of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The storm is moving northwest at about 15 mph with winds at the center of 40 mph and is expected to make landfall late Saturday or early Sunday. The National Hurricane Center is tracking this storm; it is offering updates about its development as an RSS feed."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Tropical Storm Alpha Sets Naming Record

Comments Filter:
  • by Sam Haine '95 (918696) on Sunday October 23, 2005 @07:43AM (#13857142)
    Tropical Storm Aleph?
    • Of course it should be the from the futhark [ancientscripts.com]. After all, who were more acqainted to rough seas than vikings! The aleph comes from a desolate desert.
    • Unfortunately, most people won't be able to pronounce them. Or spell them consistently, since there are different ways of transliterating Hebrew into the Latin alphabet. (I was taught the system that starts Alev).

      However, if we have THAT many tropical storms in a year, we will have more to worry about than nomenclature.

  • by CosmeticLobotamy (155360) on Sunday October 23, 2005 @07:48AM (#13857158)
    If you start spouting off about global warming now, on either side, Zonk wins.
    • Forget global warming, judgement day is upon us !
  • by cperciva (102828) on Sunday October 23, 2005 @07:52AM (#13857168) Homepage
    When they said "we'll have to use Greek letters if we run out", I assumed that they meant "use Greek names starting with the appropriate letters" (and use the Greek letters themselves as the single-character symbols on maps). Names "Athena", "Basileus", "Chronos", "Dionysus", etc. would have been really neat for tropical storms, and they'd have helped to make people more familiar with classical mythology as well.

    But no, apparently they're just using the Greek letters themselves. Quite apart from being unimaginative... what happens if Hurricane Epsilon is particularly destructive and NOAA decides to retire the name [noaa.gov]? They can hardly retire a letter of the Greek alphabet.
    • Uh, OK. If they were going to use Greek God names, then maybe they would have said something like "we're going to use Greek God names if we run out." But that's not what they said; they said Greek letters. I also don't see how it would have made people more familiar with Greek mythology any more than it would get people more familiar with the Greek alphabet.

      As for the "they can't retire a Greek letter" thing...of course they can. They just don't use it as a storm name anymore.

      Maybe I'm missing something
      • I was actually a bit suprised by using just the letter as well. They don't use Hurricane A, Hurricane B, etc they use names using those letters. That is to allow for different names to these storms each year. Now the next time we run out of "normal" names it will just start at Alpha again? So year-to-year the first 21 storms will always get "unique" names, but all storms after that will use the same names? If it makes sense to use a naming convention to have differnt names year-to-year, why have it sto
        • This was just a contingency plan; they never expected to get to Wilma, let alone Alpha, Beta, or Gamma. That's why it wasn't thought through so carefully. I imagine that if they do get a "retireable" storm with a Greek-letter name, they'll come up with another contingency plan.
          • Actually, they already do have plans in place for that. If Alpha (for example) ever needs to be retired, they'll simply skip it the next time they get to the Greek letters, and the next storm after the W name will be Beta. I don't think it's anything to be terribly concerned about in any event. Getting to the Greek letters at all is obviously quite rare, and that being the case, it's even less likely that a Greek letter will ever have to be retired.
    • easy (Score:2, Interesting)

      by TomasDK (803635)
      To avoid losing the name "alpha", they add "05" (the year) to the name if they retire it. The retired name would be "alpha05".
    • by Fermatprime (883412) on Sunday October 23, 2005 @10:01AM (#13857584)
      Epsilon won't be particularly destructive. It'll be tiny.
    • Why not put 10,000 names in a hat (or a computer) and just pick one at random? Why does it have to be based on the alphabet? And why do they have to go to the next letter after each storm? I mean, is there an adevantage to this weird naming scheme? Do the storms care?
      • Why does it have to be based on the alphabet?

        On the maps which show storms' predicted paths, it's much easier if you can write "K" to mark a storm's position rather than "Katrina". In order to avoid confusion between storms, you obviously need to use different letters; the "full names" are just invented because the general public finds it easier to talk about "Hurricane Katrina" rather than "Hurricane K".
        • On the maps which show storms' predicted paths, it's much easier if you can write "K" to mark a storm's position rather than "Katrina".

          Ah, thanks. Makes sense. Although I think it would probably be just as practical to use numbering scheme. But, not being a cartographer nor a meteorologist, I will defer to the wisdom of the profession. I am sure they are all very smart people who know what they're doing.
    • I don't think they've actually defined what they do for storm names 22+ in the year after they use Alpha. It's not like next year's 22nd storm can happen before they've decided, since they meet (to decide what names to retire and choose replacements) between seasons anyway. They only really need to have a plan for each individual year at the beginning of the year.
  • by Harker (96598) on Sunday October 23, 2005 @07:55AM (#13857182)
    They can't come up with names beginning with X, Y, and Z.

    H.
  • by Elrac (314784) <carl@NOSpAm.smotricz.com> on Sunday October 23, 2005 @07:59AM (#13857190) Homepage Journal
    I heard a news commentary last night that seemed reasonably well informed to me. They said that the frequency of tropical storms (i.e. the reason they're running out of names at the moment) varies in a natural cycle which is probably not noticeably affected by temperature. On the other hand, the severity of the storms is directly a function of their energy, which they get from warm tropical water, which is directly affected by temperature.

    If this is true and if global temperatures are affected by CO2 emissions, then human activity is probably causing these storms to be (on the average) more severe.

    While I feel sympathy for the poor bastards suffering in NOLA and elsewhere, I feel it's a good thing that Katrina is making Americans sit up and think about possible connections between environmental cause and meteorological effect. It's human nature to tend not to think much about things that don't affect one personally. I wonder how GWB's stance on emissions would be affected if a storm were to dismantle his ranch in Crawford?
    • If this is true and if global temperatures are affected by CO2 emissions, then human activity is probably causing these storms to be (on the average) more severe.


      Two 'ifs' in that sentance. Doesn't sound like something we should worry too much about.

      Oh, and did anyone else see the report that the ice caps are melting...on Mars? Guess there must be something else going on other than CO2 in the atmosphere. I wonder what could effect the tempature on the Earth, and on Mars, at the same time??
      • But both those 'ifs' are in fact facts.

        1) this IS a record breaking hurricane season, no 'ifs' about it.

        2) Global temperatures are inextricably linked to CO2 levels, its a simple fact, read any high school text book.

        There may be some, ableit public rather than scientific, debate about whether humans are causing the CO2 rise. Although I say public because the vast majority of scientists agree human emissions are the cause and many of the few that don't agree have vested interests like working for Exxon and f
    • Keep in mind this is just a record for "storms we know about," not actual number of storms there were. In 1933, they didn't have spiffy satellite images and radar to detect hurricanes far from the coast. Back then, storms like Lee and Maria probably would've gone completely unnoticed. Irene might've even skipped notice since it looped around the Bahamas.

      http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/at200513.as p [wunderground.com] http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/at200514.asp [wunderground.com] http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/at200509. [wunderground.com]

    • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Sunday October 23, 2005 @12:04PM (#13858064) Homepage Journal
      I wonder how GWB's stance on emissions would be affected if a storm were to dismantle his ranch in Crawford?

      Since Crawford is about 250 miles inland, if circumstances were such that a hurricane powerful enough to level it came about, then he'd be too busy dying with the rest of the world to have time to think about it. Same reason I don't have flood insurance on my house: if I ever actually needed it, I'd be too busy building an ark to care.

    • by smithmc (451373) * on Sunday October 23, 2005 @01:28PM (#13858446) Journal

        I wonder how GWB's stance on emissions would be affected if a storm were to dismantle his ranch in Crawford?

      The "Axis of Evil" would become Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and Mother Nature. (Mother Nature would come after North Korea because that's the order in which he would actually do anything about them.)

  • by The Famous Druid (89404) on Sunday October 23, 2005 @08:18AM (#13857249)
    ... because we're going to need that money to pay for all the storm damage we've been getting lately...
  • Alpha was the 22nd to reach tropical storm strength this year, and the season doesn't end until November 30.

    Aren't there, like, 25 or 26 letters, something like that? And no, I will not RTFA (read the fucking alphabet) - it's early on a Sunday morning.
    • Yes, but the "big" storms (think Hurricaine Mitch, of which I share the same first name) get excluded after massive amounts of deaths.

      So while you start out with 26 letters, those storms that are nasty get their name revoked forever.

      Which might indicate this really isn't THAT bad of a storm season. But you never know.
      • That's not why there are only 21 named storms, though. They skip certain letters of the alphabet, such as Q, X, Y, and Z because there aren't really enough names beginning with those letters to be able to fill out the six lists that they use on a rotating basis.
    • Quick, how many names do you know that start with Q, U, X, Y, or Z ?
  • by PunkOfLinux (870955) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Sunday October 23, 2005 @08:35AM (#13857304) Homepage
    I hope hurricane Beta is extremely powerful. Then I can say "Wow... That Hurricane must have been really buggy..."
  • Alpha's "only" a tropical storm, but the latest track forecast has it going right over Haiti.

    From what I understand of Haiti, if it's edible or burnable, it's been eaten or burned - so there's virtually no tree cover left in some places. The wind isn't the problem; I worry that the rainfall will bring flooding, mudslides and mass death.

    Florida will be fine. Haiti? I'm worried.

  • Is that or ? (capital Alpha or small Alpha)
  • by SirPablo (852683) on Sunday October 23, 2005 @09:18AM (#13857435)
    IAAM (I Am a Meteorologist), and I don't understand why there is so much confusion on the naming convention.

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml [noaa.gov]

    "Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center and now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. The lists featured only women's names until 1979, when men's and women's names were alternated. Six lists are used in rotation. Thus, the 2004 list will be used again in 2010. Here is more information on the history of naming hurricanes."

    You don't have letters like Q or X because you really don't have a large pool of names to draw from (equally male and female). Once a NAME is retired, it is never used again. A LETTER is NEVER retired (though I'm not sure what they would do if a an Alpha or Beta was retired).

    Names alternate male-female. The beginning sex alternates each year. The first storm this year was Arlene, the first one next year will be Alberto.
  • Wrong years? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by psyon1 (572136)

    This is the first time the U.S National Hurricane Center has resorted to using the Greek alphabet since it began naming tropical cyclones in 1953. The previous record of 21 named storms had stood since 1933.

    Am I reading this wrong, or is that a typo? If they did not start naming storms until 1953, how were there 21 NAMED storms in 1933? Did they go back and name the ones in the past?

    • Re:Wrong years? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nautile (784714)
      There wern't 21 named storms in 1933; there were just 21 storms. If they were naming storms back then, they would've gone through an entire list like we did this year. The point is that was the most tropical storms/hurricanes in a season ever recorded -- until now.
  • by Finuvir (596566) <rparle.soylentred@net> on Sunday October 23, 2005 @09:40AM (#13857511) Homepage
    Keep in mind that the records only go back to the early 1900s when the hall of records was mysteriously blown away.
  • by rocjoe71 (545053) on Sunday October 23, 2005 @09:41AM (#13857519) Homepage
    I'm sure someone out there will convince someone else that these names are up for sale. I can hear it now...

    Hurricane Pepsi has strengthened to a "category 5 delicous" and is expected to be refreshing residents of the Florida coast by early Tuesday morning.

  • If this season was bad, and was caused by the (still increasing) global warming, what will happen next year? Past-omega names? one really massive and strong megahurricane (Wilma at one point was the strongest measured ever, i think in some point heard something about winds of 500km/h) where you will have to split naming between old style hurricanes and land cleaning ones? or even so continuous appareance of ones that will be thru all the season some active dangerous hurricane around?

    If this is just an is

  • by MirrororriM (801308) on Sunday October 23, 2005 @01:28PM (#13858447) Homepage Journal
    Yes, we're going to see some "OMG! There are so many storms this year! It's global warming! Oh noes!!1!". It's inevitable with an article like this, so I'd just like to give my two cents on these multitude of storms and "global warming":

    What gets me is all of these "record breaking lows/highs" and along with it comes "it hasn't been this hot/cold/stormy/etc since (insert 30 to 70 year old year here)". Well what was the excuse back then? Seasons and temperatures fluctuate all the time. Records aren't broken every day, nor every year...they just get randomly broken.

    So please explain to me why exactly, when referring to 1933, there were 21 storms back then - was it global warming? No.

    Before you mod this flamebait or troll, I'm just trying to make a logical point. I'm not a believer or non-believer of global warming, I just get sick of the years-ago referrals as if it were significant without someone thinking it out logically and using it for their "global warming" agenda.

I wish you humans would leave me alone.

Working...