Tracking the Tropics: Can Delta be retired as a name within the Greek alphabet?

Tracking the Tropics

Twenty Sixth named storm of 2020 already a Category 4, Major Hurricane

2020 has been a record setting year of firsts, and this is shaping up to be yet another because Hurricane Delta has intensified in the Caribbean Sea with 140 mile per hour winds.

The National Hurricane Center did not start presenting a list of names for these storms until 1953. If all names are used up, then the Greek alphabet kicks in. Hurricane name lists are repeated once every seven years, but certain names become retired if a storm is fatal or costly enough. Once the Greek alphabet kicks in, it is repeated annually if needed. The last time Delta was named was November 23, 2005.

A Greek Alphabet named storm has never been retired, but the National Hurricane Center’s format for doing so is to retire it with the year attached, for example, “Delta 2020.” Then, if we were to reach the Greek Alphabet again during future seasons, “Delta,” itself, would be reused once more.

Delta is now forecast to make landfall as a hurricane, which would make it the record setting tenth United States land-falling tropical cyclone in a single hurricane season. Currently, the record is held by 1916, when nine tropical cyclones made landfall. This is shaping up to be the most land-falling tropical cyclones during a single season in over one hundred years.

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