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Harvey, Irma, Maria And Nate Are Finished As Hurricane Names

Larry Dimas walks around his destroyed trailer in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Immokalee, Fla., on Sept. 11, 2017. The World Meteorological Organization will no longer use Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate to name hurricanes.
Gerald Herbert

After one of the most destructive hurricane seasons ever, the names of four hurricanes are being retired. The World Meteorological Organization, the international body responsible for naming hurricanes, says it will no longer use Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate to name hurricanes. The organization says it retires names for hurricanes when "a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity."

The storms being retired this year include:

  • Hurricane Harvey, which pounded Southeastern Texas for days with historic rainfall and catastrophic flooding, is the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history after Katrina. At least 68 people died from the storm in Texas.
  • Hurricane Irma made 4 landfalls in the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm before affecting most of Florida.  It caused 44 direct deaths as a result of wind, rain and heavy surf.
  • Hurricane Maria was a category 5 storm when it hit the Caribbean island of Dominica.  It weakened slightly to category 4 before devastating Puerto Rico and knocking out the island's power grid. Seven months later many on the island are still without power. It's the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history.
  • Hurricane Nate was a tropical storm that strengthened to category 1 hurricane status.  But its rainfall brought flooding and mudslides that caused 44 deaths in Central America.
  • With these four, the names of 86 hurricanes have been retired since 1953, the year the National Hurricane Center began developing lists of names for Atlantic tropical storms. The lists are now maintained and updated by an international committee with the WMO. The names selected as replacements for possible use in 2023 are: Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel.

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    As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.
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