PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to be at, or just below, hurricane strength when it approaches the northern Gulf Coast and makes landfall in the United States on Wednesday. Zeta is the 27th named storm of an extremely active Atlantic hurricane season.
This season was so busy with storms that the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has gone to the Greeks, using the Greek alphabet for naming storms.
The NHC only once before ran out of human names for tropical storms — in 2005, 27 names were given. In that year, the last one used was, in fact, Zeta, according to National Geographic.
The official hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin (the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico) is from June 1 to Nov. 30. The peak of the season is from mid-August to late October.
According to Local 10′s Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross, “If, heaven forbid, we get another named storm this year, its name will be Eta (pronounced ATE-uh).” Norcross said 2005 still holds the record with 28 named storms though the east-Atlantic storm wasn’t named in real time. It was identified, according to Norcross, in a post-season review, so it’s down in the record books as simply “Unnamed Subtropical Storm.”
The naming convention has been established by the World Meteorological Organization Tropical Cyclone Programme. In the event that more than 21 named storms were to occur in the Atlantic basin in a season, additional storms would be taken from the Greek alphabet.