The Washington Post article Hurricanes Eta and Iota brought disaster to Central America. Officials can’t retire their names. describes a complicated situation, aspects of which are:
Eta roared ashore in northern Nicaragua on Nov. 3, followed by Iota exactly 13 days later and just 15 miles to the south. Both were Category 4 hurricanes at landfall, though Iota had attained Category 5 status offshore. The pair brought flood disasters across Central America, in addition to extreme wind and storm surge near the coast.
They’re the textbook candidates for having their names axed from the Hurricane Center’s six-year rotating name list. Just as Katrina was replaced by Katia, Michael with Milton, and Sandy with Sara, there would ordinarily be little question that the name of a deadly and destructive Category 4 hurricane would be retired. But in the case of the Greek alphabet, there’s no easy replacement.
“The Committee … agreed that it was not practical to ‘retire into hurricane history’ a letter in the Greek Alphabet,” read a news release from the World Meteorological Organization, which oversees hurricane naming across the world’s oceans.
Instead of removing a letter from the list, Greek letters can only be symbolically retired. Under the current policy, “Eta 2020” and “Iota 2020” would be listed as retired storms if the WMO voted accordingly, but the names Eta and Iota would remain in circulation for future storms. Some meteorologists fear this defeats the purpose of retiring names, while others find that assigning Greek letters to storms is impractical to begin with.
Question: Why exactly were Greek letters used as names for Hurricanes in the first place, despite the fairly obvious and predictable impracticalities? Certainly this exact problem was brought up, how was it dismissed?
Related but different (because the current question is backward-looking), and also in need of answers: