Harvey, Irma, Nate, and Maria retired as storm names

Harvey, Irma, Nate, and Maria retired as storm names

Kerry Wise
April 13, 2018

Taking their place will be Harold, Idalia, Margot, and Nigel respectively.

Maria was used three times in the Atlantic and three times in the Western Pacific, while Nate was also used three times.

For example, only 21 letters of the English alphabet are in use, so none of the names start with less common letters like Q. Here's the list of names for storms in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic. These names will first appear during the 2023 season. They trail only Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005.

After the extensive storm damage caused by recent storms, the World Meteorological Organization decided their names are not worth repeating.

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Harvey hit Texas Aug. 25, killing at least 68 people. Of the 17 named tropical storms that formed during 2017, ten became hurricanes, and six reached major hurricane strength, according to WMO. It made landfall in south-west Florida at category 4 intensity, prompting the evacuation of about 6 million residents and causing severe flooding. Irma caused 44 deaths, including seven in the U.S. Hundreds more were injured.

Storm names are retired if they were so deadly or destructive that the future use of the name would be insensitive, the committee said in a press release announcing the decision. It was the third-costliest storm in US history, and caused 31 deaths in Dominica, two deaths in Guadeloupe, and at least 65 deaths in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, the death toll stands at 65, which includes an unknown number of indirect deaths.

Hurricanes season runs from June 1 to November 30. After a shipwreck in Panama, the death toll rose to 45. An additional nine people were missing in the region.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.