Tropical Storm Don: Presidential namesake or coincidence?

Tropical cyclone names are designated years in advance in a rotating list that this season just happens to contain Don.

Tropical Storm Don, which formed Monday, has nothing to do with President Donald Trump, although the Internet and Twitter are full of memes and misinformation as to the naming.

Marshall Shepherd, director of the University Georgia’s Atmospheric Sciences Program and Forbes blogger, outlined some of the web babble and clarified that the National Hurricane Center did not name the weak storm “Don” to make fun of the president.

Related: Tropical Storm Don strengthens in its trek west.

Hurricanes get monikers based on their basin, and names that are familiar in the region.

Hurricane names are selected by the World Meteorological Organization and are usually common names associated with the ethnicity of the basin that would be affected by the storms.

Check The Palm Beach Post storm tracking map.

“For example, in the Atlantic basin, the majority of storms have English names, but there are also a number of Hispanic-origin names as well as a few French names,” said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen during an interview about 2015’s Hurricane Henri. “For the eastern North Pacific basin, the majority of names are of Hispanic origin, as the impacted countries are Mexico, Guatemala, and other nations of Central America.”

There are six lists in rotation, which are maintained and updated by the World Meteorological Organization.

The Pacific has a different list of names, which, in another coincidence, includes the name Hilary this season.

A name can be removed from the list if a storm hits and is particularly deadly or costly.

For example, there will not be another Hurricane Andrew, after the devastating 1992 Category 5 storm. And the 2004 and 2005 seasons saw a whole slew of names retired from the list including, Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma.

Hurricane Joaquin from 2015 is also off the list, as is Hurricane Matthew from the 2016 season.

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Tropical Storm Don to reach Windward Islands tonight

Update 5 p.m.: Tropical Storm Don is moving toward the Windward Islands with 40 mph sustained winds. The center of the storm is expected to cross the islands this evening.

Don should degenerate into a trough tomorrow, but is expected to dump up to 6 inches of rain with isolated higher amounts on Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and the southern Windward Islands through Wednesday.

Previous story: Tropical Storm Don strengthened overnight to 50 mph winds as it speeds west at 18 mph.

At that pace, the center of Don is expected to reach the Windward Islands tonight and continue on a track into the southeast Caribbean Sea on Wednesday.

Check The Palm Beach Post storm tracking map. 

Don is no threat to the U.S., but is noteworthy it its formation in the main development region of the Atlantic – an area that doesn’t typically see activity until later in the hurricane season.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia and Bonaire.

Related: Will a hurricane be named after you this season? 

Earliest reasonable arrival time of tropical storm-force winds as of 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Don isn’t expected to remain a storm for long. As it heads deeper into the Caribbean, it will encounter more storm-shredding wind shear that will likely dissipate it by the end of the week.

The National Hurricane Center has identified a second area of interest, designating a wave behind Don as Invest 96L this morning.

Tropical Storm Don is being trailed by Invest 96L.

Invest 96L has a 40 percent chance of development over five days. It is located several hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands and is expected to experience some gradual development through mid-week.

But environmental conditions are expected to become less conducive as the system moves west-northwest at up to 15 mph.

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