Any major hurricane that comes ashore and is particularly deadly or costly, could get it's name retired. Since 1954, 88 names have been retired. A storm that becomes a tropical cyclone gets a name. Names were assigned arbitrarily before 1954. To mitigate confusion for alerts and warnings the World Meteorological Organization started using names from a predetermined list.

Storms were only given female names until 1978. Male names were then added and rotated back and forth. There are 6 versions of this list, and every 7th year names are reused, unless it is retired.

This year we are in a situation we have actually faced before. We ran out of the names from this years list, and started using the Greek Alphabet. This happen once before in 2005, but none of the hurricanes met the benchmark.

It seems Hurricane Delta could meet the criteria for retirement. Delta will come ashore as a Category 3 Hurricane, hitting the Louisiana Coast. Right where hurricane Laura ripped so much of Southwest Louisiana apart.

When you look at an areal view of Lake Charles, LA, its just a sea of blue tarps. Debris from Laura a month ago is still pilled up near those homes. Debris that is already loose, and could cause further damage.

So if Delta is particularity bad, it will be added to the list of names to be retired. Only thing is when we run out of names, the year is added to the end of the Greek name. That means Delta is really named 'Delta 2020.' So when, or if, the name is retired it will be "Delta 2020" that gets the axe. The name 'Delta' could be technically used again.

Sources: National Hurricane Center   World Meteorological Organization