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Harvey, Irma, Maria And Nate Are Finished As Hurricane Names

14 April 2018

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. 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.

The names will be replaced by Harold, Idalia, Margot, and Nigel, which will first appear in the 2023 approved list of storm names, the agency said in a statement. 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.

Unless a name is retired, the exact same list of names is used again six years later.

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Seventeen tropical storms formed in 2017, with 10 becoming hurricanes, six of which reached major hurricane strength (Harvey, Irma, Jose, Lee, Maria, Ophelia). At least 68 people died from the storm in Texas.

The World Meteorological Association is retiring those names.

The National Hurricane Center concluded that Harvey and Maria will likely rank as the second-costliest and third-costliest storms in US history, respectively, with 2005's Katrina still the highest (accounting for inflation).

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Hurricane Irma was a long-lived hurricane that reached category 5 intensity on September 5.

Since 1953, 86 hurricanes and tropical storms have caused enough devastation to be removed from the Atlantic lists. Irma caused 44 direct deaths as a result of its strong winds, heavy rain and high surf. Seven months later many on the island are still without power.

Hurricane Maria was a category 5 storm when it hit the Caribbean island of Dominica.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association estimates that the damage caused by Maria places it at No. 3 - right behind Harvey and Katrina. In Puerto Rico, the death toll stands at 65, which includes an unknown number of indirect deaths. But its rainfall brought flooding and mudslides that caused 44 deaths in Central America.

Harvey, Irma, Maria And Nate Are Finished As Hurricane Names