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Monday, September 19, 2005

Philippe, Rita...who is next?

At the beginning of the hurricane season I looked for this years upcoming hurricane names. I recognized several. A friend of my son's name is Dennis. My daughter's best friend's name is Emily. My grandmother's name is Irene. My daughter's name is Katrina. A leader of my church has the name Stan. I felt for sure this was going to be an interesting season.

When July got so hectic and had so many named storms, I began to wonder what happens if we run out of names? Now that we are already to Rita, we only have four more names to go: Stan, Tammy, Vince and Wilma. With the season we have, it is entirely possible that we will need more names, but where will they come from?

Turns out the names are chosen in 6 year cycles. Names that were used this year will be used again in 6 years if the storm was not devastating. The names of storms that were devastating will be retired.

So here we are with 2 1/2 months left in the hurricane season. We only have four more names to choose from, where will they come from? Will they tap next year's list? Will they throw darts at a dart board? Flip a coin? Well, the answer is none of the above. There is a plan in place and it is to go to the Greek alphabet if we run out of this year's names. So after Wilma will come Hurrican Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and so on. And now we know the rest of the story!

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