Due to the extensive damage caused in the United States and Caribbean a year ago, the World Meteorological Organization's Region IV Hurricane Committee has officially retired these names.
Four names from the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season - Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate - will never be used again. However, whenever a storm is particularly destructive or deadly - so much so that the future use of that name would be insensitive - it is retired forever.
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Experience shows that the use of short, distinctive given names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and less subject to error than the older more cumbersome latitude-longitude identification methods. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the WMO Tropical Cyclone Committees (called primarily to discuss many other issues) the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it.
With the four new retirees, there have been 86 names pulled from the Atlantic list since 1953, when storms began to be named. "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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"Since that fateful year, 88 names have been retired, and those beginning with "I" made up a disproportional number of them (11 of the 88)", the newspaper writes. 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. At least 68 people died from the storm in Texas. Irma came ashore in southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane. Irma caused 44 direct deaths as a result of its strong winds, heavy rain and high surf.
Irma - a Category 5 storm, the strongest designation, wrecked havoc on Caribbean islands; Barbuda was nearly completely destroyed. In the US, seven deaths as a result of were reported, and 85 indirect deaths as a result of debris. In 2005, five storm names, including Katrina, were retired - the most for a single season. In Puerto Rico, the death toll stands at 65, which includes an unknown number of indirect deaths.
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Nate proceeded north to hit the central U.S. Gulf Coast as a Category 1 hurricane and brought minor rainfall to Virginia.