Will Kylie Ever Get a Whirl? Answers to Correspondents
Has there ever been a Hurricane Kylie, Justin, Ronan or Britney?
THE closest would be the name Kyle, which is on the list of names to be used in 2008.
Hurricanes have been identified by personal names since 1953, and names are revised every six years by the World Meteorological Organisation meeting in Geneva.
The names have an international flavour, since hurricanes are tracked by the people and weather services of many countries.
When a disturbance intensifies into tropical storm status, the various authorities give it a name from the current list.
In the event of a very damaging hurricane such as Andrew in 1992, its name is retired permanently and a new name substituted in the list.
When more storms develop in a given year than there are names in the relevant list, the Greek alphabet (Alpha, Beta, etc) is used to name subsequent systems.
The following names will be used for hurricanes and tropical storms in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico from 2004 to 2009.
2004: Alex, Bonnie, Charley, Danielle, Earl, Frances, Gaston, Hermine, Ivan, Jeanne, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tomas, Virginie, and Walter.
2005: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katrina, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince and Wilma.
2006: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie and William.
2007: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dean, Erin, Felix, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Noel, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.
2008: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Spectacular: Hurricane Floyd over the Bahamas in 1999 Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.
2009: Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.
There are also lists of names for tropical cyclones in the Eastern North Pacific, Western North Pacific, South-West Indian Ocean, Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
However, none includes the names in the question.
Barry Gromett, Met Office, Exeter, Devon.
QUESTION Where is the longest flight of stairs in the world?
UNSURPRISINGLY, the longest flight of stairs can be found in one of the world's most mountainous countries, Switzerland, at the Niesenbahn funicular railway near the town of Spiez.
The stairway, which reaches up to the summit of Niesen mountain, rises to a height of 5,476ft and has a sweat-inducing 11,674 steps. …