Ike, Igor, Irene, Ingrid … What do these four names have in common? They all start with the letter “I”, and they can never again be used for a hurricane.
The World Meteorological Organization began naming tropical storms in 1950. A storm is given a name when its wind speeds reach 39 miles per hour, and it becomes a hurricane when winds hit 74 miles per hour.
Kimberlain: “We find that choosing relatively short and distinctive names is the best way to go about identifying tropical cyclones.”
Hurricane forecaster Todd Kimberlain says there are six lists of twenty-one names. One list is used per year, and names are given in alphabetical order. But if a storm is particularly deadly, its name is never used again.
That could create a problem for the letter “I”, which is normally needed in the month of September.
Kimberlain: “The storms then can be very strong, so we’ve gone through a lot of I names.”
Experts predict that as the climate warms, we might see fewer hurricanes, but those we do see could be more deadly, possibly leading to more names being retired.”Running Click To Tweet
Kimberlain: “We may get to the point where we don’t have any other I names, and I’m not sure where we’re going to get them from.”
Reporting credit: Lauren Smith/ChavoBart Digital Media.
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