The World Meteorological Organization decided on the list of 21 names. When a tropical storm strengthens to wind speeds of 39 mph or higher, it gets a name from the list, starting in alphabetical order.
There are 26 letters in the alphabet but only 21 names chosen. The letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are all left off because they aren’t common enough to be easily understood in local languages spoken in North America, Central America and the Caribbean (areas all affected by hurricanes).
There are six lists of names, which are rotated through and recycled every six years. For example, the list used in 2023 will also be used in 2029.
The only time there is a change in the lists is if a hurricane is so costly or deadly that the future use of its name would be inappropriate or insensitive. If this occurs, the name is retired, and another is selected to replace it.
For example, Fiona and Ian from 2022 were recently retired and replaced with Farrah and Idris for the next time that list of names is recycled.
What are the 2023 Atlantic hurricane names?
Here is the list of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane names and their pronunciations.
But in the event that this year’s hurricane season exceeds expectations and produces more than 21 named storms, additional names will be pulled from a backup list agreed upon by the World Meteorological Organization. The WMO used to use Greek letters after the primary list was exhausted, but said it caused too much confusion and abandoned the system in 2021.