Harvey, Irma, Maria, Nate retired as hurricane names

Harvey, Irma, Maria, Nate retired as hurricane names

Harvey, Irma, Maria, Nate retired as hurricane names

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday the names of four hurricanes that caused significant damage and killed dozens past year will be retired.

The World Meteorological Organization, the worldwide body responsible for naming hurricanes, says it will no longer use Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate to name hurricanes. The nation hardest hit by a storm can request its name be removed because the storm was so deadly or costly that future use of the name would be insensitive. "Male and female names alternate alphabetically and the lists are used every six years", WMO said. Taking their place will be Harold, Idalia, Margot, and Nigel respectively. Those names will first appear in the 2023 list of storm names.

The 2017 hurricane season featured three category 4 hurricanes making landfall, including Harvey, Irma and Maria. The National Hurricane Center has called it the "most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event in United States history, both in scope and peak rainfall amounts".

Harvey, which dumped up to 1.5 metres of rain on southeastern Texas, and Maria, which ravaged Puerto Rico and Dominica, are the second- and third-costliest storms in US history, NOAA said.

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The flooding from Hurricane Harvey was nothing short of catastrophic in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana because the large storm stalled for days in late August. The 2005 hurricane season has the most retired names for one season, with five.

The 2005 season holds the record for the most names retired because of the devastation they caused. Irma caused 44 deaths and 85 indirect deaths in the Caribbean and Florida. The catastrophic hurricane made seven landfalls, four of which occurred as a category 5 hurricane across the northern Caribbean Islands. The storm was blamed for at least 100 direct deaths between Dominica and Puerto Rico, but the number of indirect deaths due to the massive disruption is still unknown.

Hurricane Nate crossed northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras as a tropical storm, then made landfall on the northern Gulf Coast as a category 1 hurricane. Nate's rainfall inundated Central America and killed 45.

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