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WeatherTalk: Where do hurricanes get their names?

If a hurricane is deemed particularly memorable or devastating, then the name is retired and replaced with a new name.

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Photo taken of Hurricane Florence convection with deep eyewall in Atlantic Sea from the International Space Station. Photo credit:
Contributed / Alexander Gerst / European Space Agency
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FARGO — The tradition of naming hurricanes stems from World War II, when meteorologists and pilots would jokingly name them after their wives or girlfriends. Now, there is an actual list of hurricane names for every region of the planet developed by the World Meteorological Organization. For the North Atlantic, there is a list of 21 names from A to Z, excluding Q, U, X, Y and Z. The list of names we have this year are the same names that appeared in 2016, 2010, and 2004.

If a hurricane is deemed particularly memorable or devastating, then the name is retired and replaced with a new name. The name Charley was replaced by Colin starting in 2010. The name Alex on the 2022 list is a replacement from the 1992 Hurricane Andrew. If more tropical storms and hurricanes occur in a season than there names available, the list switches to the Greek alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.) as was done in 2005 and again in 2020.

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