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WEATHER UNIVERSITY: What's in a storm name?

This satellite image, taken Saturday, May 26, shows subtropical storm Alberto over the Gulf of Mexico.
This satellite image, taken Saturday, May 26, shows subtropical storm Alberto over the Gulf of Mexico. - NOAA

Alberto did not wait for an invitation.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic is underway, thanks to the early arrival of Alberto. Alberto became the first named storm of the season early May 25, over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. From the beginning, Alberto was a subtropical storm.

Subtropical: a storm located in the subtropical belt near and just north of the horse latitudes.

Horse latitudes: regions located at about 30 degrees north and south of the equator. These latitudes are characterized by calm winds and very little precipitation.

You may have heard Alberto described as a cyclone.

Cyclone is a general term for all weather systems that rotate with low pressure at their centres. Tropical cyclones form all around the world, generally about 480 kilometres north or south of the equator. The term cyclone does not take into account the power or size of a system.

You’ll find named storms called:

Hurricanes: east of the international date line

Typhoons: west of the international date line

Cyclones: spinning about over the Indian Ocean

A few terms that might come in handy as the 2018 hurricane season heats up!

Read more Weather University columns.

Have a weather question, photo or drawing to share with Cindy Day? Email weathermail@weatherbyday.ca

Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.

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