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Tropical Storm Alpha Sets Naming Record

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the end-of-times dept.

Science 344

vekron writes "Tropical Storm Alpha formed Saturday in the Caribbean, setting the record for the most named storms in an Atlantic hurricane season. This is the first time the U.S National Hurricane Center has resorted to using the Greek alphabet since it began naming tropical cyclones in 1953. The previous record of 21 named storms had stood since 1933. Alpha was the 22nd to reach tropical storm strength this year, and the season doesn't end until November 30. At 8 p.m. EDT, Alpha was 70 miles south of Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. Tropical storm warnings have been posted for the entire coastline of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The storm is moving northwest at about 15 mph with winds at the center of 40 mph and is expected to make landfall late Saturday or early Sunday. The National Hurricane Center is tracking this storm; it is offering updates about its development as an RSS feed."

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344 comments

So what's after Tropical Storm Omega? (5, Interesting)

Sam Haine '95 (918696) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857142)

Tropical Storm Aleph?

Allah's revenge! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857461)

I told you.

...so? (1)

cldellow (925032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857146)

What is the bigger picture here? Are the storms greater in frequency, lesser in magnitude? There's 2 months left in the traditional "storm season", but the last 2 months rarely have more storms (as gauged by the NWS page). Anyone with background able to comment?

Re:...so? (5, Informative)

eobanb (823187) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857164)

IANAM (I Am Not A Meteorologist) but I do know that since we started paying attention to frequency/size of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Gulf about 150 years ago, we've been on an approximate 50-year cycle, where every 50 years or so, the storms get greater in magnitude. In the 1950s, there were some particularly strong storms, as were there in the 1900s, such as one storm 1902 that killed about 8000 people on the Texas coast, making it one of the worst disasters in American history. Now it's 2005, so we're around that high point again.

That said, we seem to also be having a few more hurricanes and tropical storms than usual, although I'd like to think this is more of just a coincidence than related to the magnitude cycle, although I wouldn't rule out that it could have something to do with global warming.

I'm really not completely sure why the 50-year magnitude cycle occurs, but it's well-documented.

Re:...so? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857245)

I'm not sure why the Stock market goes up when the NFC wins the Super Bowl, but I'm a pretty firm believer in imaginary correlations.

Re:...so? (4, Interesting)

Orp (6583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857368)

such as one storm 1902 that killed about 8000 people on the Texas coast, making it one of the worst disasters in American history.

Actually it was 1900, and it was the city of Galveston which was hit, and the high death toll was largely due to the fact that nobody was evacuated, and this was due in part to a turf war between the weather forecast offices in Galveson and Cuba.

"Isaac's Storm" written Erik Larson chronicles this storm and the events leading up to it. Highly recommended.

Re:...so? (1)

jhines0042 (184217) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857383)

Seems more like a 52 year cycle. Maybe God's playing cards with the universe! (After all, Einstein said that he didn't play dice... so maybe its cards!)

Re:...so? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857205)

If you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accumulated_Cyclone_E nergy [wikipedia.org] you will see that the total energy of this years storms is large but not record breaking. Once Wilma is accounted for the ACE should be over 200, possibly over 205. It would take another two moderately large hurricanes to drive us over the record set in 1950,

Re:...so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857206)

There's a good chance we'll get to gamma this year. You're right
that raditionally, the last months of a storm season have little
activity. But there's an unreal amount of energy in the gulf
waters, so even minor depressions flair up. (Wilma went from
a TS to Cat5 in under a day--that shows you the fuel in the
gulf waters.)

This does not appear to be caused by surficial waters alone.
There appears to be a shift in the normal flows from deep/trench
ocean that transport cooler waters to the Gulf. In other words,
the Gulf is not getting the pumped cool down it normally gets.
Perhaps it will arrive later than usual, or perhaps we've crossed
a tipping point, and the Gulf is now in a new state of higher
temperatures where even lame TS or Tropical depressions get elevated
to Category 4 and 5 in under 36 hours.

Welcome to the new normal. It's an exciting time to be a meteorology
student. (But hey, it's worth it. My SUV has FOUR cup holders,
and they're chilled by the AC! And I can buy plastic salad spinners
from China at like $5 each from Walmart. So making the Gulf
states unlivable is fine by me!)

Re:...so? (4, Informative)

BRock97 (17460) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857208)

Actually, the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th. So, there is only five weeks left, not two months. Also, less in magnitude is hard to say since Wilma set a record for the lowest pressure reading ever recorded in an Atlantic hurricane at 882mb (record lowest world wide belongs to Typhoon Tip in the northwest Pacific at 870mb). Wilma also set a record as the fastest growing. Finally, quite a few tropical storms were named that didn't make hurricane status (9, I believe) and 5 hurricanes were minimal category 1.

Re:...so? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857345)

the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th
Just wondering - since November 30th is an arbitrary cut-off date, what are they going to do if there's another hurricane, but in December? Will the ne'er-say-dies who deny the greenhouse effect finally admit that the climate is changing? Or will they insist on "NO, it's after the hurricane season - its not a hurricane, it's just a big-ass freak storm."

Re:...so? (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857380)

5 hurricanes were minimal category 1

Is that the number to actually make US landfall? There have actually been 11 storms to reach hurricane level this year. Plus 3 of those reached category 5 (new record as well).

Re:...so? (3, Informative)

BRock97 (17460) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857444)

"There have actually been 11 storms to reach hurricane level this year."

Heh, sorry, I was on my way out to exercise this morning and was afraid that comment was a little ambiguous; I should have clarified. My point was that of the 22 named systems so far this year (up through Alpha), 14 have been relatively weak storms. Plus, the number is actually 12 to have made hurricane force, not 11. The break-down is as follows:
  • Category 1: 5 (Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Stan, Vince)
  • Category 2: 1 (Irene)
  • Category 3: 1 (Maria)
  • Category 4: 2 (Dennis, Emily)
  • Category 5: 3 (Katrina, Rita, Wilma)

Re:...so? (3, Informative)

AngryNick (891056) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857396)

INAME (I'm Not A Meteorologist Either). For those who like pictures, these links show the number of storms and their paths for each 10 year period. It's interesting to compare 1931-1940 to 1941-1950. Perhaps we are just getting started. Clipped from a great NOAA-National Hurricane Center [noaa.gov] report, The Deadliest, Costliest, and Most Intense United States Hurricanes from 1900 to 2000 [noaa.gov] :

Figures 1 through 10 show the landfalling portion of the tracks of major hurricanes that have struck the United States 1901-1999 (there were no major hurricane strikes on the United States in 2000). The reader might note the tendency for the major hurricane landfalls to cluster in certain areas during certain decades. Another interesting point is the tendency for this clustering to occur in the latter half of individual decades in one area and in the first half of individual decades in another area. During the very active period of the thirties this clustering is not apparent.

It appears to me that the trends are on 10-year cycles, more or less.

Alpha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857152)

Alpha? pfft That is just the beginning, when hurrican Omega is on the the way, I will start to worry.

Don't feed the Zonk. (4, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857158)

If you start spouting off about global warming now, on either side, Zonk wins.

Not to spout Zonk food, but (1)

a.different.perspect (817184) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857178)

We really should be worried. The real test will be next year: if there are an enormous number of hurricanes then as well, we probably have a pattern. That's when the political shit really hits the fan (and gets swept up and distributed across the Gulf).

Re:Not to spout Zonk food, but (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857193)

It's going to take at least 5 years of consistent results before anyone that doesn't already have their mind made up starts noticing, if there does turn out to be a trend, and they will all blame the party they're not a part of anyway and nothing will change. Politics is awesome that way.

Re:Not to spout Zonk food, but (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857386)

I don't have time to worry about that. I'm all busy worrying about that dangerous, growing Greenland ice sheet [cnn.com]. Just like they said in the 70's, that Ice Age is coming. Or is the other way around? It's almost like there's a short, shallow supply of contradictory evidence and a lot of overblown political blather on every side! Almost like that, anyway. Causality shmausality.

Re:Not to spout Zonk food, but (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857413)

Did you read the article, or just grab the link off a weblog? If you skipped the actual tedious reading, here's some relevant text which punnctures your flippant entire-scientific-community-dismissing pose:

Glaciers at sea level have been retreating fast because of a warming climate, making many other scientists believe the entire ice cap was thinning.

"The overall ice thickness changes are ... approximately plus 1.9 inches a year or 21.26 inches over 11 years," according to the experts at Norwegian, Russian and U.S. institutes led by Ola Johannessen at the Mohn Sverdrup center for Global Ocean Studies and Operational Oceanography in Norway.

However, they said that the thickening seemed consistent with theories of global warming, blamed by most experts on a build-up of heat-trapping gases from burning fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars.

Warmer air, even if it is still below freezing, can carry more moisture. That extra moisture falls as snow below 32 Fahrenheit.

When they said "use Greek letters"... (4, Insightful)

cperciva (102828) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857168)

When they said "we'll have to use Greek letters if we run out", I assumed that they meant "use Greek names starting with the appropriate letters" (and use the Greek letters themselves as the single-character symbols on maps). Names "Athena", "Basileus", "Chronos", "Dionysus", etc. would have been really neat for tropical storms, and they'd have helped to make people more familiar with classical mythology as well.

But no, apparently they're just using the Greek letters themselves. Quite apart from being unimaginative... what happens if Hurricane Epsilon is particularly destructive and NOAA decides to retire the name [noaa.gov]? They can hardly retire a letter of the Greek alphabet.

Re:When they said "use Greek letters"... (1)

eobanb (823187) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857187)

Uh, OK. If they were going to use Greek God names, then maybe they would have said something like "we're going to use Greek God names if we run out." But that's not what they said; they said Greek letters. I also don't see how it would have made people more familiar with Greek mythology any more than it would get people more familiar with the Greek alphabet.

As for the "they can't retire a Greek letter" thing...of course they can. They just don't use it as a storm name anymore.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but what's so damn hard to figure out?

Re:When they said "use Greek letters"... (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857421)

I was actually a bit suprised by using just the letter as well. They don't use Hurricane A, Hurricane B, etc they use names using those letters. That is to allow for different names to these storms each year. Now the next time we run out of "normal" names it will just start at Alpha again? So year-to-year the first 21 storms will always get "unique" names, but all storms after that will use the same names? If it makes sense to use a naming convention to have differnt names year-to-year, why have it stop after 21? Just was a bit suprised by it myself and was expecting something else as well. That said, after a bit of thought it did make a bit more sense. What is a name with Alpha? Alpha = A, so we'd just get another hurricane beginning with A. Sure, it may be an ethnically greek name, but still it would be confusing. Which was the first and which was the 22nd?

Prhaps w should rtir on of our lttrs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857434)

Thr's on lttr in nglish that's usd far too frquntly. Prhaps w could rtir it instad. (I know, you'r talking about storms, but work with m hr.)

Re:When they said "use Greek letters"... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857197)

Hurricane Balki [imdb.com] has a nice ring to it, although of course he's Miposian, not Greek. Following that of course, would be Hurricane Cousinlarry.

Re:When they said "use Greek letters"... (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857361)

Because of course, the primary reason for using names to identify hurricanes is because it's "really neat".

easy (2, Interesting)

TomasDK (803635) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857447)

To avoid losing the name "alpha", they add "05" (the year) to the name if they retire it. The retired name would be "alpha05".

Can you just stop and think for a minute? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857170)

Now this is going to be very unpopular, but here's my little conundrum....

America considers itself to be 'God's own country' and in particular the bible belt in the heartland of America believes this to be true. Now traditionally speaking, Hurricanes, Tornados, floods etc are considered to be 'Acts of God' so can someone please explain to me why these people who live in areas which are flattened year after year by 'Acts of God' don't actually start wondering if they're doing something to cause all these 'Acts of God'? I mean just read the Bible, there's chapter after chapter of destruction caused by God on the infidels and these people talk about the Bible every Sunday, have to evacuate their trailer park at least once a year and they still don't put two and two together?

Me? I don't believe a damn of it but if you say you believe in God and your home gets trashed annually by 'Acts of God', please consider that it could just be because of the way you/your nation behaves......

Re:Can you just stop and think for a minute? (1)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857259)

That's an interesting concept. So what do you think the tens of thousands of dead in Pakistan from the quake are guilty of? Or the Sri Lankans & Indonesians killed by the tsunami? Or do you propose those to be punishment of America, too?

Why do so many people believe in a hateful God just itching to engage in slaughter? My God has better things to do, like help, not hurt. She also has a great sense of humor & is doubtlesslessy chuckling about the notion.

Re:Can you just stop and think for a minute? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857309)

Why do so many people believe in a hateful God just itching to engage in slaughter?

Probably because that's how he's described in the Bible. Most religious people have read the Bible and not your mind.

Sarcasm of some sort, me thnks (1)

hsoft (742011) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857316)

I'm not sure, but I think the grandparent was sarcastic. If I had GWB in front of me and I wanted to make him understand that there might be a connection between hurricanes and human behavior, that's exactly what I would say to him, even if I don't personally believe in God. I mean, GWB is way too stupid to acknowledge scientific facts.

Well, I don't even think 'sarcasm' is the right term. More like when you try to explain something to a child and use metaphors because the plain thruth is just too much for them, like explaining that one of their relatives is dead.

Because God wants to test them (1, Informative)

xixax (44677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857272)

It's easy for the literalists:

If God Fearin' folk get hit by natural disasters, it's just like in Job and their faith is being tested.

If Godless goat sodomising strangers get hit by natural disasters, they are evil and are being righteously punished for their sins.

Simple eh?

Fortunaately most Godbotherers are intelligent enough to understand that if you chose to live in a hurricane zone, you will get the occassional hurricane.

Xix.

Re:Can you just stop and think for a minute? (5, Funny)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857298)

Ah, but it's all part of Gods' Plan

Like all forms of suffering, you can just play the "Mysterious Ways" trump card, and be instantly absolved of explaining why a being that is supposedly omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent permits suffering to happen.

The obvious logical explanation is that either there is no such being ; either it is absent or a supernatural sentience does exist, but lacks at least one of those three qualities (i.e. it doesn't know, can't do anything about it or doesn't care).

Of course, logical arguments are usually countered with the "La-la-la, I'm not listening." move or the "Repeat my viewpoint over and over again in lieu of actually providing a chain of logic" tactic.

You could proabably make a trading card game based on this ... "Atheists vs <insert most culturally appropriate religion here>". Heck, you could have different sets of booster packs for each religion. I hereby patent this idea!

"Theology : The Blathering"

Re:Can you just stop and think for a minute? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857369)

Gotta love that name! (ROTFL)

Of course, if you wanted karma for the interesting/insightful part, you probably blew it...

Re:Can you just stop and think for a minute? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857456)

It's always seemed to me that the God's Mysterious Plan explanation made the most sense. More sense, I mean, than even trying to understand anything that "God did/does/thinks." Allow me to explain. God is supposed to be some sort of infinitely intelligent, Good being, right? So why would we humans be able to understand anything that God does?

Think of it this way: To an young boy who cannot understand what adults say, it makes no sense whatsoever that his father leaves every day (to go to work). Where does he go? Why does he go there? There is a whole system that provides the reason (father goes to work to do something for someone who gives him money which he obtained in a similar manner, that money is used to pay someone to do work for him, etc. "Money is exchanged for goods and services.") The child certainly doesn't know what his father is thinking, of all things. He doesn't even know what his father is doing.

So it seems that it makes a Hell of a lot more sense that we have no fucking clue what God thinks.

they're used to it (2, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857321)

Well, bear in mind that the heartland of the United States has been subject to the worst weather on the planet for as far back as anyone knows. Take a look here [edgetech-us.com], for example, a map of tornado hits. From the link: "The United States has the dubious distinction of having the most severe, damaging tornadoes of any country in the world."

It's also the case that the US Gulf Coast is arguably the only highly-industrialized, high-population piece of the First World to have been so regularly pummeled by hurricanes in this century. And let's not even talk about minor problems like lightning [nationalgeographic.com], which whacks a hundred or so people a year, and for which Florida is the worst place to be outside of central Africa and atop mountains.

I've lived in the American Midwest (Colorado and Illinois). They're a tough breed. You don't stay if you're scared of big storms, or worry that they're a personal message from God.

Re:they're used to it (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857367)

I've lived in the American Midwest (Colorado and Illinois). They're a tough breed. You don't stay if you're scared of big storms, or worry that they're a personal message from God.

Oh, please. I've been a Midwesterner most of my life (Colorado, North Dakota, and now Minnesota; BTW, whether Colorado is "Midwest" or just "West" is debatable, but there's no question about the other two) and people here are no more a "tough breed" than anywhere else. Every place on Earth has its hardships, and overall the life here is a lot easier than it is in a lot of other places. It's also a matter of what you, personally, find most tolerable -- blizzards and tornadoes, I can deal with, but basic training in the Georgia summer damn near killed me. A lot of my family lives on the Gulf Coast, and I think they're nuts for staying, given the way things are going, but then, they think I'm nuts for voluntarily living somewhere that regularly sees temperatures of -40 F. Etc.

Anyway. The question of "toughness" is a straw man; the GP poster's question was about faith. Specifically, why is it that people turn to God for comfort after natural disasters, but seem unable to ask hard questions about why they're suffering from these "Acts of God" in the first place? And I agree; it's dumb. Millennia of apologists have come up with ever-more-baroque philosophical explanations for the Problem of Suffering (both natural and man-made) and not a single one of them has ever arrived at a convincing answer.

fair enough (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857427)

Okey doke. I've mostly got no bone to pick with that.

But do let me note I didn't say they in the Midwest are tougher than others, just that they are a tough lot. I agree every place has its hardships, but the response of people who live there varies. Some are whiners and some just get on with life. When I compare my neighbors in the Midwest with my regrettable neighbors in LA, I think the former look pretty good.

I didn't think my post was entirely unrelated to the question. The point was to suggest that worrying about whether your weather is a personal message from God is rather a narcissist weenie kind of thing to do, and folks who routinely survive such weather are probably not the sort to be doing it. I hope I'm clearer now.

I was in Eastern Colorado, so I'm going to go with Midwest. People on the western slope sure didn't seem to consider us real Westerners, and having spent a smidge of traveling time in Nevada and Utah I kind of agree. On the other hand, calling coastal Californians "westerners" is plain ludicrous, so what can I say? It's probably just a state of mind.

Re:they're used to it (1)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857441)

Millennia of apologists have come up with ever-more-baroque philosophical explanations for the Problem of Suffering (both natural and man-made) and not a single one of them has ever arrived at a convincing answer.

I've heard several plausible answers. Maybe by holding out for "convincing" you're setting the bar too high.

Re:Can you just stop and think for a minute? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857347)

You betcha. Its all that gay sex.

Re:Can you just stop and think for a minute? (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857378)

You see, that's just His way of saying: "Stop bothering me with your mindless drivel, you nimrods!" I mean, if a few million people would call me every day for some reason (with many of them just repeating some latin poetry that I have alreay heard a few billion times) I'd cerainly be a bit pissy.

Re:Can you just stop and think for a minute? (1)

tehanu (682528) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857385)

Well, as the Chinese would say, it's the Mandate of Heaven in action baby! Or to be more exact, "Heaven" withdrawing its permission to govern from the ruler/s, presumably because they're evil, corrupt and generally crap.

But I'm willing to bet that fundamentalist Christians in the US will just say that it's because the existence of sin in the US i.e. homosexuality, the teaching of evolution, etc. ignoring the fact that it doesn't really seem as if the liberal "sinner" states are the ones getting hit. In fact, even in New Orleans, it was the sinful gay pride French Quarter that survived best. God has bad aim it seems. Or maybe he just likes the French. Or maybe it's just because most of New Orleans was a sitting duck except for the French Quarter which was built on the highest bit of land in the area and it has nothing to do with God. But anyway, you'd better hope that US Christian fundamentalists *don't* start thinking about this too much as it would merely make them more fervent in their attempts to quash "sin" i.e. homosexuality, the teaching of evolution, abortion etc. In China, when talk started about the Mandate of Heaven it never led to secularism and introspection. It led to militant fanatic religious groups with a strong peasant base trying to take over the country. They always failed but the internal conflict inevitably weakened the government enough to cause its collapse.

actually, it's the reverse (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857431)

People who live in areas frequented by natural disasters have a greater tendency to believe in god, gods or other mythic beings. You have to remember that the average IQ is around 100, that's pretty dumb really, so it's easier to attribute chance, natural disasters, anything detrimental outwith their control to mythical beings than it is to try to analyse the real reasons for them and to do something about it.

We'll see them sacrificing money, posessions in order to attempt to appease their particular deities over the coming months. Church memberships will increase, as will takings. Politics will take a turn to the conservative, the literal word of the bible becoming even more important.

It's a good time to start a religion or to use one to influence people.

 

A bit off-topic (1, Insightful)

FunctionalMethod (751923) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857175)

But why did they start using the Greek Alphabet? I mean there are more then 21 names ( Rita , Katrina etc. ) so why not just continue naming them the same way?

Just adding MALE names would give you atleast 20 more easy names. Why are storm names female? I suppose it comes from the old days when only men worked as sailors , and thus named everything female.

Someone with a bit of backround in the thema can help , maybe?
 

Re:A bit off-topic (1)

dink353 (747249) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857191)

They actually DO use male names for storms. This season already we have had Dennis and Nate, just to name two. The reason as to why they branched out into the greek alphabet is beyond me though.

Re:A bit off-topic (1)

FunctionalMethod (751923) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857233)

A yes now that you mention those I remember them. I don't live anywhere near regions where hurricanes form , so the only one I could remember where the last ones . That combined with the fact that most bad stuff are named female , I kinda jumped to conclusions.

Re:A bit off-topic (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857270)

> The reason as to why they branched out > into the greek alphabet is beyond me though. I am sure those who had children with the names of hurricanes aren't too happy about it.

Re:A bit off-topic (2, Funny)

Peyna (14792) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857395)

I am sure those who had children with the names of hurricanes aren't too happy about it.

The millions of us named Andrew have trouble sleeping every night.

Re:A bit off-topic (3, Informative)

eobanb (823187) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857198)

See, except, they DO name storms with male names. Remember Hurricane Andrew? The reason they went to the Greek alphabet was that they name the storms in alphabetical order, and once they get to the end of the alphabet, you COULD start with A again, but you wouldn't know (just from the name, at least) whether that storm occurred at the beginning or the end of the hurricane season.

Re:A bit off-topic (4, Informative)

Motherfucking Shit (636021) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857203)

Just adding MALE names would give you atleast 20 more easy names. Why are storm names female? I suppose it comes from the old days when only men worked as sailors , and thus named everything female.
You might have heard of hurricanes Charley, Dennis, Frederick, or Hugo; the name pool isn't restricted to female names. Names for named tropical storms in the Atlantic are pulled from a list which rotates every six years, and the combined series of six lists contains an equal number of male and female names.

More information is available at NASA's Hurricane Names [nasa.gov] page.

Re:A bit off-topic (1)

Lilkeeney (131454) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857215)

They rotate between male and female names. Do you remember Hurricane Hugo, Bob, Andrew? All names are not female. Just Rita and Katrina were odd numbered storms.

Re:A bit off-topic (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857221)

Why are storm names female?

In 1975, just after cyclone Tracy obliterated Darwin in 1974 the Australian BOM [bom.gov.au] decided to use a mix of male and female names for cyclones.

I think this naming convention was just a slightly sexist joke on the part of the people who do the naming. In this day and age I think it would be best if these weather systems were just given numbers. It is not like people are going to forget they are there, after all./p.

Re:A bit off-topic (5, Funny)

beaso (925040) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857291)

They name storms and hurricanes after women because when they come, they're loud and wet, and when they leave, they take your house and car.

It's just because they're unimaginative. (4, Funny)

Harker (96598) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857182)

They can't come up with names beginning with X, Y, and Z.

H.

Re:It's just because they're unimaginative. (1)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857217)

X,Y, Z... as well as Q and U

Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katrina, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince, Wilma

How about... Quincy, Ulysses, Xander, Yoda, and Zack?

Re:It's just because they're unimaginative. (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857334)

Quentin, err
Ulrika, Ursula, Ulrich, Una, err
Xanthe
Yvette, err ... Yolanda umm
Zardoz :p

But I think you need to come up with a total of 5 female and male names for each letter for it to be a viable option. But that should be easy enough with the name lists that are readily available.

Re:It's just because they're unimaginative. (2, Funny)

ziggamon2.0 (796017) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857237)

That's because nerds would keep rushing towards, not from Hurricane Xena, and we wouldn't want that, would we? ;-)

Re:It's just because they're unimaginative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857261)

That wouldn't work. That would mean hurricane Alpha could have been called Xena. 'Xena' conjures up images of a sexy, athletic woman in leather with a curious fondness of her sidekick. Thats the sort of thing people would sit down and watch, rather than run in fear from.

Re:It's just because they're unimaginative. (4, Funny)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857404)

Why don't sell the naming rights to tropical storms? They already sold the some monkey to goldenpalace.com - why not a hurricane? Just imagine the possibilities: A pump manufacturer could call a hurricane "And Once It's Over, XYZ Pumps Will Help Pump Out Your Basement". Countless possibilites, I tell ya.

Especially if someone a the EFF decides to buy a nasty hurricane and hve it called "Software Patents" or something... "We're reporting live from Podunk, Texas, where fifty people were killed by Software Patents".

Oh yes. Global warming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857183)

Not since 1933(!) has there been 21 storms worthy of a name of its own! This year passed that. So, there was almost a global warming problem in 1933. Darn those T-Fords!

Nature works in intervals. We got a warmer period now. It'll be colder again soon enough.

And if I'm wrong, I've probably died from skin cancer before you can hold me up to it. =D

Frequency vs. severity (4, Informative)

Elrac (314784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857190)

I heard a news commentary last night that seemed reasonably well informed to me. They said that the frequency of tropical storms (i.e. the reason they're running out of names at the moment) varies in a natural cycle which is probably not noticeably affected by temperature. On the other hand, the severity of the storms is directly a function of their energy, which they get from warm tropical water, which is directly affected by temperature.

If this is true and if global temperatures are affected by CO2 emissions, then human activity is probably causing these storms to be (on the average) more severe.

While I feel sympathy for the poor bastards suffering in NOLA and elsewhere, I feel it's a good thing that Katrina is making Americans sit up and think about possible connections between environmental cause and meteorological effect. It's human nature to tend not to think much about things that don't affect one personally. I wonder how GWB's stance on emissions would be affected if a storm were to dismantle his ranch in Crawford?

Re:Frequency vs. severity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857232)

I wonder how GWB's stance on emissions would be affected if a storm were to dismantle his ranch in Crawford?
War On Storms, IMO.

Re:Frequency vs. severity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857242)

I wonder how GWB's stance on emissions would be affected if a storm were to dismantle his ranch in Crawford?
War On Storms, IMO.
Too true...

Re:Frequency vs. severity (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857372)

I wonder how GWB's stance on emissions would be affected if a storm were to dismantle his ranch in Crawford?
War On Storms, IMO.
Nah, don't forget, there's a bunch of RWVs (RICH WHITE VOTERS) living there - you'd have federal disaster aid, the marines forwardly pre-deployed, etc. And room service in the "shelters", which would be double suites in hotels.

Re:Frequency vs. severity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857411)

it's a good thing that Katrina is making Americans sit up and think

Go to hell. Or, more meaningfully, go to the 9th Ward. Or Waveland. Oops - they don't exist anymore.

There is nothing - not a damned thing - good about Katrina.

Re:Frequency vs. severity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857452)

It got rid of some americans, didn't it?

Last time was in the 30's (1, Flamebait)

kelarr (925041) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857212)

Seems to me that we've just gotten better at finding the storms. I'm not sure that they've gotten that much more frequent. They didn't have satellites, radar, stormchasing planes, etc. until fairly recently. How many storms were missed?

Re:Last time was in the 30's (1)

Inaffect (862616) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857229)

This is a possibility. Who knows what kind of storms never made the record. It is somewhat weird though, that we're getting a hell of alot of powerful storms recently. Aren't the waters in the Gulf of Mexico about 5 degrees higher?

Re:Last time was in the 30's (1)

kelarr (925041) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857258)

With regards to the golbal warming issue, I don't think the fact can be denied (just ask the wooly mammoths). The earth was covered with ice 20,000 years ago, and it melted. So you might argue that we've been in a bit of a warming trend for the past few thousand years.
Humans may be contributing, but to consider them as the root cause is a bit anthropocentric.

Ocean Currents are complex, and we're jsut staring to understand them.
There is a north atlantic current that seems to self-regulate temeperature. Shows how cyclical this climate change may be.
http://www.nerc.ac.uk/publications/documents/pe-sp r04/atlantic.pdf [nerc.ac.uk]

Re:Last time was in the 30's (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857336)

How many storms were missed?
Look at a satellite photo - these things are big, and all those islands have been inhabited by people who write a lot of stuff down for at least a couple of hundred years. It's hard to ignore something as big as a hurricane.

Re:Last time was in the 30's (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857338)

We've had weather satellites for about 40+ years. I doubt that any major storms have gone undetected, unlike the old days, when they depended on weather reports from ships at sea.

The most named storms, the biggest storm ever . . (0, Flamebait)

ourcraft (874165) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857213)

. . and the ain't-no-such-thing-as-science geniuses says "I see no connection to global warming"
Exactly as the model predicts, but "Maybe it's just because of the immoral people down there,"

Yeah and the war in Iraq has nothing to do with oil, Katrina had nothing to do with incompetence.

Exposing a CIA agent had nothing to do with treason.

Diebold voting machines have nothing to do with destroying democracy.

Zoloft for everyone!

Number of letters (1)

dave_mcmillen (250780) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857280)

Alpha was the 22nd to reach tropical storm strength this year, and the season doesn't end until November 30.

Aren't there, like, 25 or 26 letters, something like that? And no, I will not RTFA (read the fucking alphabet) - it's early on a Sunday morning.

Re:Number of letters (1)

otomo_1001 (22925) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857362)

Yes, but the "big" storms (think Hurricaine Mitch, of which I share the same first name) get excluded after massive amounts of deaths.

So while you start out with 26 letters, those storms that are nasty get their name revoked forever.

Which might indicate this really isn't THAT bad of a storm season. But you never know.

Re:Number of letters (1)

Zathras26 (763537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857458)

That's not why there are only 21 named storms, though. They skip certain letters of the alphabet, such as Q, X, Y, and Z because there aren't really enough names beginning with those letters to be able to fill out the six lists that they use on a rotating basis.

Re:Number of letters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857430)

I believe the last few letters of the alphabet are reserved for the Pacific Ocean. That way people will not get them confused. There have been a few Tropical Storms and Hurricanes in the Pacific that could have caused damage to southern California or Hawaii, just not any recently.

I remember one that was aiming for Baja California that was being watched carefully as it could have easily wandered north and hit San Diego, but that was years ago, I think back in '91.

Naming system needs to be changed (1)

minsyntax (871755) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857286)

I suppose by "alpha" they're referring to TS2005-22!

I can imagine only a handful of things more moronic than naming storms. If you had a baby girl early this year and named her Katrina, which meteorological naming organization do you sue?

And can anyone remember the name of the third storm in 2003? I can, it was 2003-3. They should just number them. The Japanese number their typhoons, and everyone can refer to them once they've passed. I suppose you could give North American hurricanes letter codes: K instead of Katrina. But numbers are better than letters. The set of whole numbers contains significantly more than 26 members, certainly enough for any hurricane season before Armageddon.

And yes, there are definitions based on which hemisphere a storm originates in, where it's headed etc, but lettered prefixes can solve that.

Re:Naming system needs to be changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13857353)

2003-3 isn't very news friendly. Won't someone please think of the media?

Re:Naming system needs to be changed (1)

agraupe (769778) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857359)

I was named Andrew in 1989... two years before the hurricane that devestated South Florida. I take pride in that, and I'm rather displeased that Katrina has replaced me as the most destructive storm ever. You have to look at the bright side of life, too. Now, if they named a hurricane the same as your kid, and it destroyed your house, that's just bad luck.

Re:Naming system needs to be changed (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857410)

From the NHC:

Experience shows that the use of short, distinctive given names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and less subject to error than the older more cumbersome latitude-longitude identification methods. These advantages are especially important in exchanging detailed storm information between hundreds of widely scattered stations, coastal bases, and ships at sea.

Also, distinctive names make it easier to remember year to year which storm you are referring to. So while you might find numbers more convenient, chances are most people will find it easier to refer to Hurricane Hugo than whatever number storm it was in 1989.

Re:Naming system needs to be changed (1)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857423)

I can imagine only a handful of things more moronic than naming storms. If you had a baby girl early this year and named her Katrina, which meteorological naming organization do you sue?

And that's one of them :). Sueing a meteorological naming organization? Really?

Re:Naming system needs to be changed (4, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857425)

They should just number them

Well, I'm just glad that you can come here to 66.35.250.151 and post your comments! I mean, the 66.35.250.151 crowd will definitely know where you're coming from. I was about to wish you'd mentioned a couple of other web sites in your discussion of the non-naming of Japanese storms, but it's just as well, since we wouldn't want those sites to get 66.35.250.151'ed.

Poor Haiti (1)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857326)

Alpha's "only" a tropical storm, but the latest track forecast has it going right over Haiti.

From what I understand of Haiti, if it's edible or burnable, it's been eaten or burned - so there's virtually no tree cover left in some places. The wind isn't the problem; I worry that the rainfall will bring flooding, mudslides and mass death.

Florida will be fine. Haiti? I'm worried.

Naming convention...get it right! (4, Informative)

SirPablo (852683) | more than 8 years ago | (#13857435)

IAAM (I Am a Meteorologist), and I don't understand why there is so much confusion on the naming convention.

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml [noaa.gov]

"Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center and now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. The lists featured only women's names until 1979, when men's and women's names were alternated. Six lists are used in rotation. Thus, the 2004 list will be used again in 2010. Here is more information on the history of naming hurricanes."

You don't have letters like Q or X because you really don't have a large pool of names to draw from (equally male and female). Once a NAME is retired, it is never used again. A LETTER is NEVER retired (though I'm not sure what they would do if a an Alpha or Beta was retired).

Names alternate male-female. The beginning sex alternates each year. The first storm this year was Arlene, the first one next year will be Alberto.
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