Did you know that hurricane names could be retired? Find out why some names are no longer used for Atlantic storms and see the list of hurricane names that have been retired since the 1950s.
Why Are Hurricane Names Retired?
Atlantic tropical cyclone name lists repeat every six years unless a storm is so severe that the Hurricane Committee votes to retire that name from future lists. Here is the list of names for the current hurricane season.
Storm names are retired if they were so deadly or destructive that the future use of the name would be insensitive. (When a name is retired, it’s replaced by a new name.)
Any country may request that the name of a hurricane be “retired,” which must then be considered and agreed upon by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Current List of Retired Atlantic Hurricane Names
Below is the list of Atlantic Ocean retired names and the year the hurricane(s) occurred.
Through the 2018 hurricane season, 88 names have been retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953, when storms began to be named.
|1955||Connie, Diane, Ione, Janet|
|1964||Cleo, Dora, Hilda|
|1995||Luis, Marilyn, Opal, Roxanne|
|1996||Cesar, Fran, Hortense|
|2001||Allison, Iris, Michelle|
|2003||Fabian, Isabel, Juan|
|2004||Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne|
|2005||Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, Wilma|
|2007||Dean, Felix, Noel|
|2008||Gustav, Ike, Paloma|
|2017||Harvey, Irma, Maria, Nate|
This table was last updated in April 2020. Source: NOAA
Note: Because of COVID-19, the World Meteorological Organization’s Hurricane Committee will not address 2019 storm name retirements until the spring 2021 meeting, which will consider the potential retirement of any 2019 and 2020 hurricane names.
2018 Retired Names
Both Florence and Michael were retired by the World Meteorological Organization’s Hurricane Committee, after causing extensive fatalities and damage from Florida north to Virginia during the 2018 season.
These names will be replaced by Francine and Milton, respectively, and will first appear in the 2024 list of storm names.
According to the WMO:
- Hurricane Florence, one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes to ever hit the Carolinas, made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on September 14 and moved slowly inland with heavy rain, storm surge, and record flooding. It caused at least 51 deaths and produced extensive flooding across much of the Carolinas and Virginia.
- Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 10, with sustained winds of 155 mph. This was the third most intense hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous U.S. based on central pressure, and the fourth most intense based on wind speed. It was also the most intense hurricane on record to make landfall along the Florida Panhandle, where it caused widespread devastation and farther inland across Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia. There were at least 45 fatalities blamed on the storm in the United States.
Hurricane Florence and Michael were two of fourteen “billion dollar disasters” in 2018 in the US. Between them, they caused around US$49 billion in damages and over 100 deaths.
Did You Know?
- Around 39% of hurricanes that hit the United States strike the state of Florida.
- Two-thirds of the strongest hurricanes (Class 4 or 5) make landfall on either the Florida or Texas coast.
- As shown in the chart above, the 2005 hurricane season has the most retired names–five–for one season.
Learn More About Hurricanes
Find out the forecast for this year’s hurricane season.
Read about the Worst Hurricanes in U.S. History (a three-part series).