May 23, 2024

In this GOES-16 geocolor image satellite image taken Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, the eye of Hurricane Irma, center, is just north of the island of Hispaniola, with Hurricane Katia, left, in the Gulf of Mexico, and Hurricane Jose, right, in the Atlantic Ocean. (NOAA via AP)

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be one of the most active on record, with AccuWeather experts forecasting 20 to 25 named storms in 2024. With so many storms likely this year, a bevy of names will be used, including a few that have never been used before.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has been naming tropical systems since 1953, using a rotating list to identify storms. If a tropical storm or hurricane causes extensive damage or significant loss of life, the name is retired.

There are 21 names on the list despite there being 26 letters in the alphabet, as Q, U, X, Y and Z are skipped. With a super-charged hurricane season in the forecast, it is possible that every name on the list is used in 2024 — and then some.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts on Saturday, June 1.

Some of these names may sound familiar, as many are recycled every six years. The last time Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Nadine and Oscar were used was during the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. Francine and Milton are new names, replacing Florence and Michael, which were retired following the 2018 season.

Tropical systems that spin up in the eastern Pacific hurricane basin are also given names, but the NHC uses a different list to identify each storm.

If a tropical system develops over the central Pacific, it is given a name from a separate list comprised of traditional Hawaiian names.

With 20 to 25 named tropical systems in the forecast for the Atlantic basin in 2024, it is likely that forecasters may need more than 21 names before the season comes to a close.

In the past, the letters of the Greek alphabet were used as names, starting with Alpha. However, this rule was changed in 2021 following a historic hurricane season in 2020.

“The use of the Greek alphabet was not expected to be frequent enough to warrant any change in the existing naming procedure,” the WMO said on its website. “However, after the record-breaking 2020 season, the WMO Regional Association IV Hurricane Committee annual session in 2021 decided to end the use of the Greek alphabet and instead established two lists of supplemental tropical cyclone names, one for the Atlantic, one for the Pacific.”

The supplemental list of names is also in alphabetical order, starting with the name Adria.

If there are at least 22 named storms in the Atlantic this season, 2024 will be the first time the supplemental list is used.

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