Committee Retires Four 2017 Hurricane Names

Irma among 2017's retired storm names

Irma among 2017's retired storm names

The names of four deadly hurricanes that slammed parts of the United States, Central America and the Caribbean previous year are being retired.

Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate were retired by the organization's Region IV Hurricane Committee. But if a hurricane is particularly deadly or costly, its name is retired and is replaced by a different name.

The committee also selected the replacement names as Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel.

With these four additions, a total of 86 names have been retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953. "Damage costs exceeded 250 billion dollars in the United States alone, whilst recovery for the worst hit Caribbean islands such as Dominica may take years".

Hurricane Harvey became a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale before making landfall along the middle Texas coast on August 25. 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.

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WMO's Regional Specialized Meteorological Center Miami, which is under the responsibility of the U.S. National Hurricane Center, reported that, of the 17 named tropical storms that formed during 2017, 10 became hurricanes and six reached major hurricane strength (category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). Irma came ashore in southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane. Seven months later many on the island are still without power. In the US, seven direct deaths were reported, and an additional 85 indirect deaths occurred, 80 of which were in Florida.

Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate will join the list of exceptional hurricane names. Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Dominica as a category 5 on September 19, and later devastated Puerto Rico as a high-end category 4 hurricane. Maria caused 31 direct deaths with 34 missing in Dominica, and two direct deaths in Guadeloupe.

After one of the most destructive hurricane seasons ever, the names of four hurricanes are being retired. 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.

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