Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Harvey, Irma, Maria And Nate Are Finished As Hurricane Names

Harvey, Irma, Maria And Nate Are Finished As Hurricane Names

After the extensive storm damage caused by recent storms, the World Meteorological Organization decided their names are not worth repeating.

Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate have been retired as hurricane names, marking a dubious honour for the 2017 storms that were among the worst ever to lash the Caribbean and United States, the USA oceanic agency said on Thursday.

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. In the Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific, male and female names alternate alphabetically, and the lists are used every six years.

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The committee selected the replacement names of Harold, Idalia, Margot, and Nigel respectively. Last year's horrific hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria killed hundreds of people, caused over US$200 billion (NZ$271 billion) in damages and brought misery and hardship to millions of Americans.

Hurricane Harvey became a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale before making landfall along the middle Texas coast on August 25. The National Hurricane Center has called it the "most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event in United States history, both in scope and peak rainfall amounts". It caused 44 direct deaths as a result of wind, rain and heavy surf. Infamous storm names such as Haiyan (Philippines, 2013), Sandy (USA, 2012), Katrina (USA, 2005), Mitch (Honduras, 1998) and Tracy (Darwin, 1974) are examples for this. Seven months later many on the island are still without power.

"The extremely active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most destructive on record", the WMO reported.

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Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate will join the list of exceptional hurricane names. Irma contributed to 129 deaths, while Maria killed 31 people in Dominica and 65 in Puerto Rico.

It's too early to know exactly what will transpire during the hurricane season that runs from June 1 to November 30, but a handful of outlooks released this spring predict more than the average number of storms. Nate, meanwhile, was responsible for 45 deaths after crossing Central America.

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