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Storm swarm: 3 more form over Atlantic while US South struggles to restore power
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Storm swarm: 3 more form over Atlantic while US South struggles to restore power

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Watch Now: A brief history of Greek-lettered storms


Hundreds of thousands of people were still without power this weekend along the Alabama coast and the Florida Panhandle in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally as officials assessed millions of dollars in damage that included a broken bridge in Pensacola and ships thrown onto dry land.

While the cleanup pressed on, the record-shattering hurricane season notched another milestone: Forecasters ran out of traditional names for storms after three new systems formed in about six hours. That forced them to begin using the Greek alphabet for only the second time since the 1950s.

The supercharged Atlantic hurricane season has produced so many named storms that scientists ran out of traditional names as Tropical Storm Wilfred developed in the eastern Atlantic. It was only the second time that has happened since forecasters standardized the naming system in 1953. Wilfred was weak and far from land.

Two hours after Wilfred took shape, the National Hurricane Center moved to the Greek alphabet when Subtropical Storm Alpha formed just off the coast of Portugal. It was followed later in the day by Tropical Storm Beta, which formed in the western Gulf of Mexico. The same practice will govern storm names for the rest of hurricane season, which lasts until the end of November.

The onslaught of hurricanes has focused attention on climate change, which scientists say is causing wetter, stronger and more destructive storms.

Video: How the Salvation Army provides relief after Sally

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