Hurricane names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate will retire

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey

The World Meteorological Organization's Hurricane Committee, meeting in Martinique, France, April 9-13 to review the devastating 2017 Atlantic hurricane season and to discuss regional coordination and operational planning for the 2018 season, has retired the names Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate from its list of rotating names. But if a hurricane is particularly deadly or costly, its name is retired and is replaced by a different name. They will be replaced by Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel.

Damage from Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate in the US alone was more than $250 billion, several hundred people died, and islands in the Caribbean are still recovering.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm in late August and dropped more than 60 inches of rain over Texas. The National Hurricane Center has called it the "most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event in United States history, both in scope and peak rainfall amounts". 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.

Harvey hit Texas Aug. 25, killing at least 68 people. The catastrophic hurricane made seven landfalls, four of which occurred as a category 5 hurricane across the northern Caribbean Islands.

It's too early to know exactly what will transpire during the hurricane season that runs from June 1 to November 30, but a handful of outlooks released this spring predict more than the average number of storms. Irma came ashore in southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane.

Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate will join the list of exceptional hurricane names. Maria caused 31 direct deaths with 34 missing in Dominica, and two direct deaths in Guadeloupe.

Since 1953, 86 hurricanes and tropical storms have caused enough devastation to be removed from the Atlantic lists. In Puerto Rico, the death toll stands at 65, plus an unknown number of indirect deaths.

Hurricane Nate didn't make landfall in the USA but slammed into Nicaragua and Panama as a Category 1, causing 44 deaths. Nate's rainfall inundated Central America and killed 45.

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