For hurricanes it's by alphabetical order, but it doesn't do Q, U, X, Y, and Z. If in one season all the names get used, they start with "Alfa" "Bravo" "Charlie" and so on with the NATO phonetic alphabet. That has only happened once, though, in 2005.
Every year there is a different list the storms are named after. They switch boys and girls names every year. Like if one year D is Dolly, then the next it would be a boys name like Damon.
They use the same list as six years before the current year unless a name on the list has been retired.
When a name is retired, it is never used again for hurricanes. They usually retire if they cause excessive amounts of damage or if they are very deadly.
I live in Wilmington, NC and I am expirienced. I hope Ike hits us after Hanna does!!! YAY!!