April 12 (UPI) — The World Meteorological Organization retired the names of four storms that caused devastating damage during the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.
The Hurricane Committee chose to retire Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate from its list of rotating names during a meeting in Martinique, France, due to their extraordinary structural damage and death toll.
“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. Several hundred people died, and the lives of millions were impacted,” WMO said.
WMO compiles a list of names for each storm in the Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific based on nearly every letter in the alphabet. The list alternates between male and female names.
Every six years the names are placed back into rotation unless a hurricane is particularly deadly or costly, in which case the name is retired and replaced by a new one.
Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel will replace the newly retired Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate for the 2023 season.
Harvey, Irma and Maria were among a record six Category 4 hurricanes to make landfall in the United States during the hurricane season and Nate made landfall on the northern Gulf Coast as a Category 1 hurricane causing at least 45 deaths in the region.
Due to the devastation caused during the 2017 hurricane season the WMO’s annual meeting was extended from four days to five as members review reports from countries affected by storms in the past season and plan to increase disaster resilience in 2018.