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October 25, 2010

Five weeks, four names left in hurricane season

Hurricane Richard has been downgraded to a tropical depression as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula and heads for the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters don't expect the storm will re-strengthen once it reaches open water again. Wind conditions in the region should cause Richard to Richarddegenerate into a "remnant low," they say.

The rest of the Atlantic Basin looks pretty quiet as the official season moves into its last five weeks. Forecasters are watching another area of showers and thunderstorms in the eastern tropical Atlantic. But they give it only a 10 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.

The 2010 season is down to the last four names on the primary list of 21 names. They are Shary, Tomas, Virginie and Walter. If those are all used and more are needed, the National Hurricane Center will turn to the Greek alphabet for more: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and so on, until Dec. 31.

The last time that happened was in 2005, when the forecasters drew six names from the Greek alphabet list, finally closing the curtain on the season with Tropical Storm Zeta, which formed on Dec. 30, and finally expired on Jan. 6, 2006.

If any storms form in January, forecasters would go to the top of the 2011 Atlantic list, which begins with Arlene. 

Here is the latest advisory on Richard. Here is the view from orbit.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:54 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Hurricanes


For what it's worth...seems that the years ending in 5 have the most retired names...with the exception of 66 and 96, the following year has none.

FR: So we should get worried in 2015 ?

Looks like this happens every five years ... although I dont think any names will be retired this year with the exception of Earl and Igor. Who knows?

@Barbara: They can't retire me! I'm too young to retire. :)

@Frank: It seems to me that the concept of a notional "Hurricane Season" (1 Jun - 1 Nov, iirc) seems to be blurring somewhat. The "established season" seems to be changing in both overall duration and storm frequency - your mention of that memorable 2K5 season that ended in January of 06, the increase in the number of named storms drawing down the list of available names... is it me, or has there been a marked increase in the number of named storms over the last twenty or thirty years? Have criteria changed for naming storms? (I'm purposefully avoiding the topic of climate change, as such a tumultuous subject tends to draw fervent advocates on both sides.) I'm curious as to your observations, theories, thoughts, ruminations, speculations... ok, you're the expert here. :)a

FR: There may be several things at work here. First, since 1995 the Atlantic Basin has been in a multi-decadal period of increased storm activity. It's not global warming, but a cycle that scientists say is linked to conditions of air and water in the North Atlantic. Global warming theory, as I understand it, predicts more-intense Atlantic storms, but not necessarily more storms. Another factor may be the advent of satellite and other high-tech observations, which likely means we are seeing and measuring more storms than would have been recorded 60 or 100 years ago. It has also become more common for the Hurricane Center to upgrade storms in post-season re-analysis. What was regarded as a tropical depression in real-time, becomes an (unnamed) tropical storm, and tropical storms get upgraded to hurricanes.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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