From Arlene to Whitney, check out 2023 hurricane season names

How names are picked and can you get a tropical cyclone named for you?

The 2023 list of storm names total 21. (WPLG/NOAA)

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – The last time a storm named Arlene swirled into the eastern Gulf of Mexico was in June of 2005. Arlene will be making a comeback as the first named tropical season storm in 2023.

The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. On Thursday, federal forecasters predicted near-normal hurricane activity.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), not the U.S. National Hurricane Center, is responsible for tropical cyclone names. (WPLG/NOAA)

So why will Arlene and the rest of the list, which includes Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harold, Idalia, Jose, Katia, Lee, Margot, Nigel, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney be coming around again?

Atlantic hurricanes are named according to six rotating alphabetical lists, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms had been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center, but they are now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.

The six lists above are used in rotation and recycled every six years.

Why aren’t all letters of the alphabet represented?

“Difficult” letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z are omitted.

Wasn’t there a time when there were only female names used?

Up until 1979, hurricanes and tropical storms were not given masculine names. The naming for females may have been influenced by a sailors’ tradition. Traditionally, ships were given female names from a time when ancient vessels were once dedicated to goddesses and, later, named after important mortal women.

[RELATED: Download the Local 10 Weather Authority Hurricane Survival Guide]

What happens if a storm forms during the off-season?

It will take the next name in the list based on the current calendar date. For example, if a tropical cyclone formed on Dec. 28, it would take the name from the previous season’s list of names. If a storm formed in February, it would be named from the subsequent season’s list of names.

What if names on the year’s list run out?

In the event that more than 21 named tropical cyclones occur in the Atlantic basin in a season, storms will take names from an alternate list of names approved by the WMO.

Can I get a tropical cyclone named after me?

While your name may come up on one of the lists, there isn’t a way to actually get a cyclone named after you.

How does a name get retired?

The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name for a different storm would be “inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity,” according to the NOAA. Several names have been retired since the lists were created.

Alphabetical list of retired Atlantic names

Agnes 1972

Alicia 1983

Allen 1980

Allison 2001

Andrew 1992

Anita 1977

Audrey 1957

Betsy 1965

Beulah 1967

Bob 1991

Camille 1969

Carla 1961

Carmen 1974

Carol 1954

Celia 1970

Cesar 1996

Charley 2004

Cleo 1964

Connie 1955

David 1979

Dean 2007

Dennis 2005

Diana 1990

Diane 1955

Donna 1960

Dora 1964

Dorian 2019

Edna 1954

Elena 1985

Eloise 1975

Erika 2015

Eta 2020

Fabian 2003

Felix 2007

Fifi 1974

Fiona 2022

Flora 1963

Florence 2018

Floyd 1999

Fran 1996

Frances 2004

Frederic 1979

Georges 1998

Gilbert 1988

Gloria 1985

Greta 1978

Gustav 2008

Harvey 2017

Hattie 1961

Hazel 1954

Hilda 1964

Hortense 1996

Hugo 1989

Ian 2022

Ida 2021

Igor 2010

Ike 2008

Inez 1966

Ingrid 2013

Ione 1955

Iota 2020

Irene 2011

Iris 2001

Irma 2017

Isabel 2003

Isidore 2002

Ivan 2004

Janet 1955

Jeanne 2004

Joan 1988

Joaquin 2015

Juan 2003

Katrina 2005

Keith 2000

Klaus 1990

Laura 2020

Lenny 1999

Lili 2002

Luis 1995

Maria 2017

Marilyn 1995

Matthew 2016

Michael 2018

Michelle 2001

Mitch 1998

Nate 2017

Noel 2007

Opal 1995

Otto 2016

Paloma 2008

Rita 2005

Roxanne 1995

Sandy 2012

Stan 2005

Tomas 2010

Wilma 2005

Looking for more information? Click here for the history of naming tropical cyclones and retired names.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local