Agri Business

Busy season: US agencies run out of hurricane names

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on October 07, 2020

A file picture of satellite image released by NASA shows a strengthening Hurricane Delta.   -  AP

Draw on Greek alphabet for only second time

Year 2020 has proved to be one of excesses, manmade or natural, led up-front by the Covid-19 pandemic. India has witnessed a second surplus monsoon on the trot, with a number of records being sunk with cyclones, floods and landslides taking their toll on life and property.

While the 2019 monsoon extending into October rode the shoulders of one of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole (warming of the West Indian Ocean relative to the East) events on record, its successor seems to have thrived on a building La Nina (a temperature anomaly in the tropical Pacific).

La Nina officially declared

The La Nina has since matured and been officially declared, global weather models say. While the tropical Pacific event seems to have strengthened the monsoon here, notably during a record-wet August, it is working its fearsome magic now with the Atlantic hurricane (cyclone) season.

La Nina has been traditionally known to increase the number of hurricanes and allows stronger hurricanes to form in the Atlantic. The chances for continental US and the Caribbean Islands to experience a hurricane increase substantially during a La Nina year.

The World Meteorological Organisation says that the 2020 season is so active that it has exhausted the regular list of storm names. The US authorities have now resorted to the use of the Greek alphabet for only the second time on record after year 2005 (hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma). And the season lasts until November 30.

Hurricane Delta rages

Hurricane Delta is the latest in the series (after Alpha, Beta and Gamma) and is now a dangerous Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson of storm intensity scale with maximum sustained winds of 209 km/h and heading towards the Yucatan Peninsula that separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had predicted that the 2020 season would see an exceptionally high number of named storms, reaching fag-end letter of V (Vicky) as early as September 14. Vicky is the earliest 20th Atlantic named storm on record (the old record was of Vince on October 9, 2005.)

Published on October 07, 2020

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