The World Meteorological Organization, the worldwide body responsible for naming hurricanes, says it will no longer use Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate to name hurricanes. It's the second-costliest hurricane in United States history, behind Katrina. The catastrophic hurricane made seven landfalls, four of which occurred as a category 5 hurricane across the northern Caribbean Islands.
The names have been replaced by Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel. Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Dominica as a category 5 on September 19, and later devastated Puerto Rico as a high-end category 4 hurricane.
- The World Meteorological Organization maintains a six-list rotation of storm names for the Atlantic Basin.
Nate, a hurricane that hit central America as a tropical storm, then the US Gulf Coast, is also being retired.
Hurricane Irma's Category 5 winds of almost 180 miles per hour leveled buildings and vegetation in the Leeward Islands in early September, then ended with a destructive combination of waves, storm surge, rain and tornadoes across Florida. At least 68 people died from the direct effects of the storm in Texas, the largest number in that state since 1919.
"The extremely active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most destructive on record", the WMO reported.
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According to Sean Breslin, editor of Weather.com, Harvey was used as a storm name six times, starting in 1981.
That is likely because the wide scale of the death and destruction from the hurricanes retired after the 2004 season - Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne - far exceeded the very localized severity of Gaston. Before the end of the 1900's, forecasters started using male names for those forming in the Southern Hemisphere.
There are no Q, U, X, Y or Z names, due to the lack of usable names that begin with those letters.
"Given the exceptional nature of the 2017 season, the WMO RAIV Hurricane Committee is scheduled for five rather than the traditional four days".
There are also separate lists for typhoons in the western Pacific and tropical cyclones in Australia and the Indian Ocean.