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What happens when we run out of names on the hurricane list?

We take a look at the question of what happens if the A through W list of hurricane names are used and there are more storms.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Tropical storm Don, the fourth named storm of the 2023 hurricane season, continues to meander in the North Atlantic.

 As we approach the heart of the season, experts are updating their season totals. 

This month, meteorologists at Colorado State University upped their forecast from seven hurricanes to nine.

The Atlantic basin has a predetermined list of names assigned to hurricanes each season. The World Meteorological Organization's list contains 21 names, alternating between male and female, from A to W, excluding Q, U, X, Y, and Z.

Six lists are used in a rotational pattern, meaning the 2018 list will reappear in 2024. 

NOAA only retires a name when it proves "so deadly or costly that its use on a future storm would be inappropriate, due to reasons of sensitivity."

Only in 2005 and 2020 were all 21 names exhausted, which prompted using the Greek alphabet to name additional storms.

In 2021, the World Meteorological Organization decided that the Greek alphabet would no longer be used. The National Weather Service stated that names like Zeta, Eta, and Theta, all sounding similar, created confusion, particularly for individuals in the storm's trajectory.

In the event of more than 21 Atlantic storms, the subsequent storms will be drawn from a new supplementary list of names, starting with Adria, Braylen, Caridad, and Deshawn and concluding with Will.

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