Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate retired as hurricane names
Thursday, April 12, 2018, 1:52 PM - The World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Region IV Hurricane Committee has voted to retire the hurricane names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate due to the widespread damage the storms inflicted in the U.S. and the Caribbean last year.
The names will be replaced with Harold, Idalia, Margot, and Nigel, and will make their first appearance on the 2023 list of storm names.
In total, 86 names have been retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953. The most hurricane names retired in a single season was in 2005, when five names were removed from the list.
- Dates: August 17 - September 2, 2017
- Peak strength: Category 4
- Peak winds: 130 mph (215 km/h)
- Deaths: 107 confirmed
- Total damage cost: $125 billion US
- Some areas received more than 40 inches (1,000 mm) of rain over a four-day period
- Areas impacted: Windward Islands, Suriname, Guyana, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Cayman Islands, Yucatán Peninsula, Southern and Eastern United States (namely, Texas and Louisiana)
- Dates: August 30 - September 13
- Peak strength: Category 5
- Peak winds: 180 mph (285 km/h)
- Deaths: 138 confirmed
- Total damage cost: $64 billion US
- 12 inches of rain (305 mm) fell in the US Virgin Islands
- Areas impacted: Cape Verde, Barbuda, Saint Barthelemy, Anguilla, Saint Martin,Virgin Islands, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos Islands, The Bahamas, Eastern United States (namely, Florida)
- Dates: September 16 - October 2
- Peak strength: Category 5
- Peak winds: 175 mph (280 km/h)
- Deaths: Current estimates are more than 1,000 in Puerto Rico
- Total damage cost: $92 billion US
- Areas impacted: Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caicos Islands, The Bahamas, Southeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic States, Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Spain
- Dates: October 4 - October 11
- Peak strength: Category 1
- Peak winds: 90 mph (150 km/h)
- Deaths: 45 confirmed
- Total damage cost: $787 million US
- Areas impacted: Central America, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Yucatán Peninsula, Gulf Coast of the United States (namely, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama), Eastern United States, Atlantic Canada
WHY ARE HURRICANE NAMES RETIRED?
“Every name that has been retired from the WMO lists for the north Atlantic and eastern Pacific before this has been due to the effects of a storm by that name," says Weather Network digital meteorologist Scott Sutherland.
According to Sutherland, there are a few reasons the names of notorious storms -- Like Katrina, Andrew and Sandy -- are retired.
"Given the damage inflicted by these storms, and how they’re burned into our memories, nobody wants or needs to hear a hurricane warning come up with one of those names again," he says.
"It can not only cause people undo stress, but it’s possible some may believe that the coming storm will cause the same kind of devastation, when it could be significantly weaker.”
WHY DO HURRICANES HAVE NAMES?
Short, distinctive names are easier for the public to remember than the longitude-latitude identification method, according to the National Hurricane Center in the U.S.
Assigning a tropical storm or hurricane a name makes it easier for media outlets and government authorities to disseminate information about a storm system.