Alpha bits.

Do not ever let it be said that the NB does not provide you with educational resources. Now, whilst reading today's news, you may have learned that tropical storm Alpha has claimed some lives in Haiti. ALPHA? you may have said to yourself (after you questioned the viability of anyone actually still being alive in Haiti). That sure doesn't sound like anyone's name! Well, it's not. It's the first letter of the Greek alphabet. You see, there are only six lists of names for each of the three hurrican-prone regions. The lists are used in rotation every six years. The only time a name is changed is when a hurricane proves to be destructive and deadly. So, you can bet your bottom dollar that you'll never have to deal with another Katrina again, unless you came to the god-awful Halloween party we attended Saturday night, at which we dressed up as Katrina. Never mind. This year, Wilma was the last name on the list in use. Because there are only six lists, once the year's list is complete (which, by the by, has never happened before right now), rather than use the list prepared for next season, the Greek alphabet is employed. Thus, tropical storm Alpha is now making its way through the Caribbean. Beta will be next, followed by Delta, Gamma etc. Interesting, no? Well, Socrates would be proud.

Anyway, here's FEMA's kid's Web site's (come on—it's hilarious AND easy to read) explanation of the whole hurricane naming business. And here's About.com's summary, only because it mentions the Greek crap and a lesbian wrote it.

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