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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 World Meteorological Organization’s 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.
As of the 2020 hurricane season, 93 names have been retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953, when storms began to be named.
Connie, Diane, Ione, Janet
Cleo, Dora, Hilda
Luis, Marilyn, Opal, Roxanne
Cesar, Fran, Hortense
Allison, Iris, Michelle
Fabian, Isabel, Juan
Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne
Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, Wilma
Dean, Felix, Noel
Gustav, Ike, Paloma
Harvey, Irma, Maria, Nate
Laura, Eta, Iota
This table was last updated in May 2021. Source: NOAA
2019 & 2020 Retired Names
Usually, storm names from the most recent hurricane season are officially retired at the spring meeting of the World Meteorological Organization’s Hurricane Committee. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, this meeting could not happen as planned, so name retirement for the 2019 hurricane season was postponed until the Spring 2021 meeting.
According to the WMO, Dorian was a Category 5 hurricane and the “strongest hurricane to hit the northwestern Bahamas in modern records.” The total cost of Dorian’s damage is estimated to be at least $3.4 billion (USD). More than 75 percent of all homes on the island of Abaco were damaged, and the storm left 29,500 people homeless and/or jobless.
The name Dorian will be replaced by Dexter in the 2025 hurricane season.
2020: Laura, Eta, Iota
Laura made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, causing a storm surge of approximately 17 feet (5 meters). Laura was directly responsible for 47 deaths in the United States and on the island of Hispaniola, and caused more than $19 billion (USD) in damage. The name Laura will be replaced by Leah in the 2026 hurricane season.
In November 2020, hurricanes Eta and Iota hit Central America, causing devastating flooding that resulted in at least 272 fatalities and more than $9 billion (USD) in damage.
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.