Four hurricane names retired following devastation

Four hurricane names retired following devastation

Four names from the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season - Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate - will never be used again.

Hurricane Harvey, which pounded Southeastern Texas for days with historic rainfall and catastrophic flooding, is the second costliest hurricane in US history after Katrina. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the WMO Tropical Cyclone Committees (called primarily to discuss many other issues) the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it.

NOAA officials say 86 names have been retired from the Atlantic basin list over the past six decades. 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.

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Due to the extensive damage caused in the United States and Caribbean previous year, the World Meteorological Organization's Region IV Hurricane Committee has officially retired these names. At least 68 people died from the direct effects of the storm in Texas, the largest number in that state since 1919.

The 2005 season set the record with five hurricane names retired: Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma. However, whenever a storm is particularly destructive or deadly - so much so that the future use of that name would be insensitive - it is retired forever. Nate will be replaced by Nigel. When a storm name is retired from the Atlantic's list of names, member countries of the meteorological organisation from that region select a new name.

Experts are already predicting a busier than normal hurricane season. Before the end of the 1900's, forecasters started using male names for those forming in the Southern Hemisphere.

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That is likely because the wide scale of the death and destruction from the hurricanes retired after the 2004 season - Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne - far exceeded the very localized severity of Gaston.

There are no Q, U, X, Y or Z names, due to the lack of usable names that begin with those letters.

Hurricane Irma made 4 landfalls in the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm before affecting most of Florida.

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