Four hurricane names retired following 2017 devastation

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The World Meteorological Organization, the global body responsible for naming hurricanes, says it will no longer use Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate to name hurricanes.

Nate was deadly in Central America and made landfall on the Gulf Coast last October. 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.

Irma - a Category 5 storm, the strongest designation, wrecked havoc on Caribbean islands; Barbuda was nearly completely destroyed. 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. Otherwise, names are reused on a six-year cycle. The death toll from Maria in Puerto Rico is 65, but because the island still lacks power, the number of indirect deaths is hard to calculate.

"The extremely active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most destructive on record", the WMO reported.

The World Meteorological Organization is retiring four hurricane names after a devastating 2017 season. The names are retired if the storms were so severe that their future use would be insensitive.

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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. Nate will be replaced by Nigel. Thus, a storm with a name which begins with A, like Anne, would be the first storm to occur in the year.

Life in Puerto Rico is still far from normal after a worst-case scenario strike from Hurricane Maria in mid-September.

In all, 86 hurricane names have now been retired. Before the end of the 1900's, forecasters started using male names for those forming in the Southern Hemisphere.

Hurricane Irma made 4 landfalls in the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm before affecting most of Florida.

Maria was used three times in the Atlantic and three times in the Western Pacific, while Nate was also used three times.