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We’ll Never Have Another Hurricane Irma Or Hurricane Maria Again … At Least Not The Name

SAN JUAN — Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate.

These four hurricanes brought death and destruction to parts of the United States and the Caribbean last year. Those names will no longer be used for future hurricanes.

An international committee of the World Meteorological Organization officially retired these names. Usually, a list of storm names is reused every six years. But there are some hurricanes that are remembered for being so deadly and destructive that to use the name again would be insensitive and confusing – names like Katrina (2005), Andrew (1992) and Sandy (2012).

Here in Tampa Bay and Florida, we won’t forget Hurricane Irma. Irma was a Category 5 hurricane that slammed the northern Caribbean islands then made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in the Florida Keys. It made another landfall on September 10 near Marco Island then moved up the Florida peninsula and through the Tampa Bay area on September 10th and 11th. There were 44 direct deaths from the strong winds, heavy rain and high surf. An additional 80 indirect deaths happened in Florida and hundreds more people were injured before and after the storm.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25 as a Category 4 hurricane. Harvey lingered there for four days and will be remembered for its historic rainfall amounts – up to five feet – that lead to catastrophic flooding in southeast Texas. It’s the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history behind Katrina.

Hurricane Maria was a Category 5 hurricane on September 19 when it slammed into the Caribbean island of Dominica. Puerto Rico and some other islands in the northeastern Caribbean Sea were also devastated by Maria.

Nate was a tropical storm that brought significant rainfall to parts of Nicaragua and Honduras causing at least 45 deaths there in October. It strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall on the U.S. northern Gulf coast.

There have now been 86 names retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1954. That’s when storms began to be named. The 2005 hurricane season had five retired names, the most for one season.

The replacement names for Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate will be Harold, Idalia, Margot, and Nigel beginning with the 2023 list of storm names.

The 2018 hurricane season officially begins June 1.

You can count on us to bring you updates throughout the season with our Virgin Islands Free Press severe weather forecasts.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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