Each year the National Hurricane Center generates a list of hurricane names for both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. For those along the Texas Gulf Coast, we are mostly concerned about those hurricanes that develop in the Atlantic Ocean and head east. Already, 2012 is proving to be an unusual year. Why you might ask?
Hurricane season starts on June 1st each year. Normally, tropical systems do not develop until sometime after June 1st. However, in 2012, we have already experienced two named storms; one being Alberto and the other being Beryl. Neither of these two storms have threatened Fort Bend County, but it does make one wonder if we might have an unpredictable hurricane season this year.
So, what are the names of the storms we might be looking out for this year? The National Hurricane Center has released its pre-approved listing of hurricane names for the Atlantic this year. The list has been formed by the Center since 1953. When first generated, the lists consisted of only female names; however, since 1979 the lists alternated between male and female names. Actually, there are six lists that rotate continuously— containing hurricane names from “A to W;” but excluding “Q” and “U.” Names on the list only change when a hurricane is very severe and damaging; when that happens, the name is retired and another name replaces it.
So for the year 2012, the names will be:
Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, William
There are normally less than 21 named tropical storms in any calendar year. In the rare years when more than 21 storms are named, the additional storms are given names from the Greek alphabet; such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta.