ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s a rarity, but it has happened before. Since the naming of tropical systems began in the 1950s, the 21 pre-determined names have only been used up twice -- in 2020 and 2005.
If you’re wondering, the letters, Q, U, X, Y, Z are not used due to a lack of names that start with those letters.
With better satellite technology to identify tropical systems and warming oceans, the probabilities of exhausting the names in a given season is higher than before.
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Warmer oceans increase the probability of tropical or subtropical development early and late in the season.
Prior to 2021, the Greek alphabet was used to complete the season if all of the names were used. This could become problematic, however, if Greek alphabet storms were retired, like in 2020.
Now, a supplemental list of names will be used to complete the season if necessary.
That way, in the event a storm is retired, the name could be replaced with a new name.