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With Alpha, National Hurricane Center turns to Greek alphabet for storm names

For only the second time in history, we've run out of letters for named storms so we've moved to the Greek alphabet.

HOUSTON — The Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t officially end until November 30 and we've already run out of letters for named storms. 

X, Y and Z aren’t used so Tropical Storm Wilfred was the last one. 

For only the second time in history, the National Hurricane Center has switched to the Greek alphabet for storm names.

Subtropical storm Alpha formed in the Atlantic Friday so the depression in the Gulf of Mexico will likely be Beta.

Greek alphabet

  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gamma
  • Delta
  • Epsilon
  • Zeta
  • Eta
  • Theta
  • Iota
  • Kappa
  • Lambda
  • Mu
  • Nu
  • Xi
  • Omicron
  • Pi
  • Rho
  • Sigma
  • Tau
  • Upsilon
  • Phi
  • Chi
  • Psi
  • Omega

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Names from the Greek alphabet have only been used one other time. That was during the deadly 2005 season with 28 named storms, including Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

They got all the way to Zeta that year when a storm formed in December after the season ended.

Forecasters with Colorado State have predicted 24 named storms for 2020, so there's a good chance we'll see Alpha, Beta and Gamma -- and maybe others.

The average number of named storms is 12. 

The World Meteorological Organization comes up with the six list of names that are rotated every six years. (What were they thinking with Nana?)

Tap here for storm names through 2025.

The names of the deadliest and most destructive hurricanes are retired.

Retired hurricane names

  • Agnes 1972
  • Alicia 1983
  • Allen 1980
  • Allison 2001
  • Andrew 1992
  • Anita 1977
  • Audrey 1957
  • Betsy 1965
  • Beulah 1967
  • Bob 1991
  • Camille 1969
  • Carla 1961
  • Carmen 1974
  • Carol 1954
  • Celia 1970
  • Cesar 1996
  • Charley 2004
  • Cleo 1964
  • Connie 1955
  • David 1979
  • Dean 2007
  • Dennis 2005
  • Diana 1990
  • Diane 1955
  • Donna 1960
  • Dora 1964
  • Edna 1954
  • Elena 1985
  • Eloise 1975
  • Erika 2015
  • Fabian 2003
  • Felix 2007
  • Fifi 1974
  • Flora 1963
  • Florence 2018
  • Floyd 1999
  • Fran 1996
  • Frances 2004
  • Frederic 1979
  • Georges 1998
  • Gilbert 1988
  • Gloria 1985
  • Greta 1978
  • Gustav 2008
  • Harvey 2017
  • Hattie 1961
  • Hazel 1954
  • Hilda 1964
  • Hortense 1996
  • Hugo 1989
  • Igor 2010
  • Ike 2008
  • Inez 1966
  • Ingrid 2013
  • Ione 1955
  • Irene 2011
  • Iris 2001
  • Irma 2017
  • Isabel 2003
  • Isidore 2002
  • Ivan 2004
  • Janet 1955
  • Jeanne 2004
  • Joan 1988
  • Joaquin 2015
  • Juan 2003
  • Katrina 2005
  • Keith 2000
  • Klaus 1990
  • Lenny 1999
  • Lili 2002
  • Luis 1995
  • Maria 2017
  • Marilyn 1995
  • Matthew 2016
  • Michael 2018
  • Michelle 2001
  • Mitch 1998
  • Nate 2017
  • Noel 2007
  • Opal 1995
  • Otto 2016
  • Paloma 2008
  • Rita 2005
  • Roxanne 1995
  • Sandy 2012
  • Stan 2005
  • Tomas 2010
  • Wilma 2005

Until 1979, only women’s names were used for Atlantic storms.