WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION (WMO) RETIRES THREE (3) NAMES ON ITS ROTATING LIST OF HURRICANE NAMES

The WMO Hurricane Committee has retired Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate from the list of rotating names because of the death and destruction they caused during the 2017 Hurricane Atlantic season.

That’s according to a press release issued by the WMO following the 2018 World Meteorological Organization’s Hurricane Committee meeting in Martinique.

Below is an excerpt from the Press Release that was issued from the meeting.

The World Meteorological Organization’s Hurricane Committee met from 9 to 13 April 2018 to review the devastating 2017 Atlantic hurricane season and to discuss regional coordination and operational planning to protect lives and property in the forthcoming one.

The Hurricane Committee retired the names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate from its list of rotating names. They will be replaced by Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel.

WMO maintains rotating lists of names, which are appropriate for each Tropical Cyclone basin. In the Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific, male and female names alternate alphabetically and the lists are used every six years. If a hurricane is particularly deadly or costly, then its name is retired and replaced by a different name. The four new names will be used in the 2023 season.

The extremely active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most destructive on record. Damage costs exceeded 250 billion dollars in the United States alone, whilst recovery for the worst hit Caribbean islands may take years. Several hundred persons died, and the lives of millions were impacted.

Accurate forecasts and warnings about wind, storm surge and flooding hazards and coordination between meteorological services and disaster management helped prevent the casualty toll from being even higher.

For the first time on record, three category 4 hurricanes made landfall in the U.S. (Harvey, Irma and Maria), and six category 5 landfalls occurred across the Caribbean basin from Irma and Maria.

Of the 17 named tropical storms that formed during 2017, ten became hurricanes, and six reached major hurricane strength (category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale), according to a report by WMO’s Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) Miami which is under the responsibility of the US National Hurricane Center. In comparison, the 1981-2010 averages are 12 tropical storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, a measure that takes into account both the strength and duration of the season’s tropical storms and hurricanes, was about 241% of the long-term average and the seventh highest in the Atlantic historical record back to 1851, according to the RSMC Miami report.

September was also the busiest month on record, in terms of ACE, for any tropical cyclone basin worldwide since more reliable records began in the early 1970s.

Given the exceptional nature of the 2017 season, the WMO RAIV Hurricane Committee was scheduled for five rather than the traditional four days. It considered detailed reports from all affected countries and territories and operational planning for the 2018 season with an aim to increase disaster resilience.

The meeting was chaired by Kenneth Graham, the new director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.

Communication and Public Affairs
World Meteorological Organization
Tel: +41-22-730 8314

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