Harvey, Maria Among Those Retired As Hurricane Names

Jonathan Hernandez
April 14, 2018

Four of last season's hurricanes were deemed so destructive and deadly that the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization has chose to retire their names.

Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate have been retired as hurricane names, marking a dubious honour for the 2017 storms that were among the worst ever to lash the Caribbean and United States, the U.S. oceanic agency said on Thursday. But if a hurricane is particularly deadly or costly, its name is retired and is replaced by a different name.

Including these four additions, there have been 86 names retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953, when storms began to be named.

Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel will replace those four on the list. These names will first appear during the 2023 season. Damage costs exceeded $250 billion in the United States alone, while recovery for the worst-hit Caribbean islands such as Dominica may take years.

Seventeen tropical storms formed in 2017, with 10 becoming hurricanes, six of which reached major hurricane strength (Harvey, Irma, Jose, Lee, Maria, Ophelia). Infamous storm names such as Haiyan (Philippines, 2013), Sandy (USA, 2012), Katrina (USA, 2005), Mitch (Honduras, 1998) and Tracy (Darwin, 1974) are examples for this.

The flooding from Hurricane Harvey was nothing short of catastrophic in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana because the large storm stalled for days in late August. Many agree that appending names to storms makes it easier for the media to report on tropical cyclones, heightens interest in warnings and increases community preparedness. The catastrophic hurricane made seven landfalls, four of which occurred as a category 5 hurricane across the northern Caribbean Islands.

Hurricane Irma was a long-lived hurricane that reached category 5 intensity on September 5. "Irma caused 44 direct deaths as a result of its strong winds, heavy rain and high surf", according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The death toll from Maria in Puerto Rico is 65, but because the island still lacks power, the number of indirect deaths is hard to calculate. The storm was blamed for at least 100 direct deaths between Dominica and Puerto Rico, but the number of indirect deaths due to the massive disruption is still unknown.

Hurricane Nate didn't make landfall in the US but slammed into Nicaragua and Panama as a Category 1, causing 44 deaths.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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