The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday the names of four hurricanes that caused significant damage and killed dozens previous year will be retired.
Four names from the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season - Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate - will never be used again. However, if a storm gains notoriety because of its strength, number of deaths or damage, the WMO may retire that name from future use.
On Thursday, a committee of the World Meteorological Organization made a decision to replace those names with Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel when the list is recycled in 2023.
Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel will replace those four on the list.
The World Meteorological Organization maintains rotating lists of names that are appropriate for each tropical cyclone basin. "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".
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Hurricane Harvey, which was a Category 4 storm when it hit Texas in late August, directly killed at least 68 people. Infamous storm names such as Haiyan (Philippines, 2013), Sandy (USA, 2012), Katrina (USA, 2005), Mitch (Honduras, 1998) and Tracy (Darwin, 1974) are examples for this. The storm then stalled, with its center remaining over or near the Texas coast for four days, dropping historic rainfall amounts, of up to five feet, causing catastrophic flooding in parts of southeastern Texas.
Hurricane Irma was a long-lived hurricane that reached category 5 intensity on September 5. A Category 5 storm at its height, Irma killed more than 100 people and devastated the island of Barbuda and the US Virgin Islands. Maria is the third costliest hurricane in USA history, behind Harvey and Katrina. "Maria caused 31 direct deaths with 34 missing in Dominica, and two direct deaths in Guadeloupe", says NOAA.
Hurricane Nate didn't make landfall in the USA but slammed into Nicaragua and Panama as a Category 1, causing 44 deaths. Nate, meanwhile, was responsible for 45 deaths after crossing Central America.
The agency noted that 2017 Atlantic season was both extremely active and one of the most destructive on record.