Hurricane names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate will retire

Harvey Irma Maria retired as Atlantic storm names

Due to extensive damage caused by the hurricanes, the World Meteorological Organization has officially retired all four storm names.

The World Meteorological Organization on Thursday removed the names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate from the list of future hurricane names due to the "extensive damage" those storms caused in the United States and Caribbean a year ago.

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.

Since 1979, the WMO has been using a six-year name rotation.

The retired names will be replaced by Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel and will make their debut during the 2023 hurricane season.

Unless a name is retired, the exact same list of names is used again six years later. "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".

The 2017 hurricane season featured three category 4 hurricanes making landfall, including Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Harvey hit Texas Aug. 25, killing at least 68 people. It's the second-costliest hurricane in USA history, behind Katrina. If more than 21 storms form in one season, like in 2005, the Greek alphabet is used to name the additional storms. Irma came ashore in southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane. "Irma caused 44 direct deaths as a result of its strong winds, heavy rain and high surf", according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Since 1953, 86 hurricanes and tropical storms have caused enough devastation to be removed from the Atlantic lists. In Puerto Rico, the death toll stands at 65, which includes an unknown number of indirect deaths.

Hurricane Nate hit Central America and the Gulf Coast of the US, eventually becoming a Category 1 hurricane. It brought rainfall that caused significant impacts in Central America, where media reports indicate that these caused 44 deaths in the region.

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