DAVID J. PHILLIP AP
Hurricane Harvey killed 68 people in Texas alone and dumped historic amounts of rain on the city of Houston
14 April, 2018, 14:03
The World Meteorological Organization has retired four names after the 2017 season.
Unless a name is retired, the exact same list of names is used again six years later. 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.
Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate will no longer be a part of the rotating list of hurricane names.
The names have been replaced by Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel. The lists are now maintained and updated by an worldwide committee with the WMO.
Damages from the 2017 hurricane season exceeded $250 billion in the United States alone while several hundred people died throughout the world from hurricanes in 2017, according to WMO. Maria is the third-costliest hurricane in USA history, behind Harvey and Katrina.
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Hurricane Nate was a tropical storm that strengthened to category 1 hurricane status. In comparison, the 1981-2010 averages are 12 tropical storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The new names will make their debut during the 2023 hurricane season. It is considering detailed reports from all affected countries and territories and operational planning for the 2018 season with an aim to increase disaster resilience. The catastrophic hurricane made seven landfalls, four of which occurred as a category 5 hurricane across the northern Caribbean Islands. 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 direct deaths as a result of its strong winds, heavy rain and high surf. 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. With 17 named storms, the 2017 season was the fifth-most active since record keeping began in 1851.
In all, 86 hurricane names have now been retired. "Maria caused 31 direct deaths with 34 missing in Dominica, and two direct deaths in Guadeloupe", says NOAA.
Hurricane Irma made 4 landfalls in the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm before affecting most of Florida.
Hurricane Nate killed 45 people in Central America. Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma were removed from the rotating list that year. An additional nine people were missing in the region.
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