A Tropical Feel and A Tropical Storm

Feeling a bit like the tropics again today with hot temperatures and high humidity.  The high reached 93 this afternoon and the dew point temperature was in the low 70s. This will be the trend for the next few days with a few showers and thunderstorms added in the afternoon. That means a hot and sticky start to school for many kiddos.

LS SchoolDay_2012_Forecast

So while it feels like the tropics here, the tropical hurricane season is picking up steam. Tropical Storm Earl has formed in the Caribbean Sea. According to the National Hurricane Center at 7 PM, the center of Earl was 395 miles east of Belize City. It’s moving toward the west at about 16 mph. On this track, the core of Tropical Storm Earl is expected to pass just north of the Honduras Bay Islands Wednesday afternoon and very near the coast of Belize early Thursday.


Some strengthening is in the forecast.  The winds are now at 60 mph and should reach 74 mph, that’s hurricane force strength, as it approaches the Yucatan peninsula. Earl is the 5th named storm of this tropical season.


Ever wonder who comes up with the names for hurricanes? The naming of hurricanes goes back hundreds of years.  In the West Indies they would christen a storm after the name of the saint on the liturgical calendar the day the storm struck.  Hurricane Santa Ana and San Felipe were in the 18 hundreds.

The US may have started the naming process during World War II when military meteorologist informally named storms after their wives and girlfriends.

In 1951, the National Hurricane Center began using the military alphabet, Able, Baker, Charley.  Just two years later they decided that was too confusing, so the Hurricane Center began making a different list of women’s names to use each year. Gender equality reached the tropical storm naming business in 1979, beginning the trend of alternating men’s names with women’s names.

Today the name game is maintained and updated by the World Meterological Organization.  The WMO has created six list of names that are rotated.  Here’s this year’s list below, we are now up to Earl. Check out the “L” name, Lisa. Notice the list is in alphabetical order leaving out a few letters.  There are 21 names in all. If that’s not enough the greek alphabet is used. The list also reflects the multicultural impact of Atlantic basin Hurricanes, using Spanish and French names as well as English.


This 2016 list will be reused again in 2022.  With one footnote, if one of these storms is extremely deadly or costly.  The name is stricken from the list and replaced.  There will never be another Andrew, Camille, Hugo or Katrina.

I’ll have the latest on Tropical Storm Earl and a look at the weekend weather on Channel 4 News at 10 PM.

Lisa Spencer

posted 9:15 PM


About Lisa Spencer

Lisa Spencer is the chief meteorologist at WSMV Channel 4 Nashville. You can catch her weathercasts weekdays at 5pm, 6pm and 10pm.
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