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Ask Josh: Tropical Storms

Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick answers your weather questions.

On my last segment, I talked about how hurricanes got their names and how if they’re very damaging and or deadly the name that’s given to that particular storm would be retired.  For example, there will never be another storm named Hugo, Andrew or Katrina.  That got one viewer wondering about tropical storms.  Lisa in Ashland sent me an e-mail asking has there ever been a tropical storm that was so bad its name got retired?  Lisa, that’s a very good question!  In early June 2001, a tropical storm named Allison formed over the Northwest Gulf Of Mexico making landfall in the Houston and Galveston area.  What was so bad about Allison is she didn’t move!  This storm sat over Houston for five days dumping 37” inches of rain in downtown alone.  This cause massive flooding, 22 lives to be lost and Allison has gone down in the record books as the costliest natural disaster in Houston’s history with more than 4.8 billion dollars in damages.  No wonder that name has been retired.  As far as I can tell looking back at one hundred years of data Allison is the only tropical storm to have its name retired. 

Shelly in South Point, Ohio asks what happens if there are more storms in a season than what’s given in the alphabet?  Has there ever been a season where you run out of names?

Remember, there are no tropical storm or hurricane names that start with Q, U or Z.  In 2005, the most active season on record we actually had to go to the Greek alphabet, making it all the way to tropical storm Zeta. 

Keep those great questions coming!  If you have weather related questions either e-mail me directly with your question at josh.fitzpatrick@wsaz.com or post it on this page and I’ll either answer them on my next Ask Josh Segment or here on this blog!

Thanks for reading!

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