This year has been very bad in terms of tropical hurricanes in the Atlantic. The American NHC National Hurricane Centre normally names storms sequentially with the alphabet. Leaving out names starting with awkward letters like Q and X, they have room for 21 storms, quite adequate. Not in 2005. After hurricanes like Katrina, Rita and Stan the Atlantic was still in spawning mood. The NHC had to resort to its backup system: the Greek alphabet. To date, we have progressed to hurricane Epsilon, which has been trundling around in mid-Atlantic, 2000 km southwest of the Azores, with sustained windspeeds of 120 kph. Although officially, the hurricane season is over, the Atlantic flatly ignores that and comes up with Epsilon on December 1st. Below image (copyright NHC/NOAA) shows its position at 4 a.m. EST (0900 GMT) on 5 December 2005. It's projected to shift southwest, and lose its intensity.

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