Thursday, 26 April, 2018

WMO retires hurricane names Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate

Andrew Cummings | 13 April, 2018, 01:28

Harvey, Irma and Maria are names tied to massive destruction and death in 2017. The highest number of names retired in one season is five; that occurred after the 2005 hurricane season. New names are added after others are retired, otherwise, names are reused every six years.

The committee also selected the replacement names for Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate with Harold, Idalia, Margot, and Nigel respectively that will first appear in the 2023 list of storm names.

A total of 86 names have been retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1954. Of the 17 named tropical storms that formed during 2017, ten became hurricanes, and six reached major hurricane strength, according to WMO.

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November 30.

Ten hurricanes tore through the Atlantic in 2017. Some estimates place Harvey ahead of Hurricane Katrina in damages - about $180 billion. A Category 5 storm at its height with winds of 178 miles per hour, Irma killed more than 100 people and devastated the island of Barbuda and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Names are only retired under these circumstances when using it again would be seen as insensitive.

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Irma lashed the Caribbean and the U.S., making seven separate landfalls as it tore across the islands and the Southeast U.S.

The removal also avoids confusion caused by a future storm having the same name.

It made another landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4, becoming the strongest storm to hit the island since 1928. Maria caused 31 direct deaths with 34 missing in Dominica, and two direct deaths in Guadeloupe.

Hurricane Nate killed 45 people in Central America.

The 2005 season holds the record for the most names retired because of the devastation they caused.

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